In Prohibition Drama Lawless, Looks Trump Drama

Hillbillies versus peacocks


Directed by John Hillcoat
The Weinstein Company
Opens August 29

Hillcoat does achieve moments that etch into the mind—an attempted assassination that mingles feathery snow and steaming blood, for one—but the narrative often seems at odds with the director’s pictorialism, trudging when it should be striding toward the climax, isolating the performers on their marks when everything depends on taut blood-ties interconnection. The cumulative effect of the Depression mosaic is, then, less than the sum of its parts, but Lawless does give one clear lesson. Despite the acts of startling violence herein, the mortal sin is vanity—clothes unmake the man. Too often, though, they also upstage him.

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