Jessica Chastain Weekend – Lawless (2012)

Director: John Hillcoat

Writer: Nick Cave (Screenplay) Matt Bondurant (Novel)

Starring: Tom Hardy, Shia LaBeouf, Jason Clarke, Guy Pearce, Jessica Chastain, Mia Wasikowska, Gary Oldman

 

Plot: Set in Depression-era Franklin County, Virginia, a trio of bootlegging brothers are threatened by a new special deputy and other authorities angling for a cut of their profits.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: The Standard Historical Crime Story

 

Story: Lawless starts as we meet the three brothers Bondurant, youngster Jack (LaBeouf), Forrest (Hardy) and Howard (Clarke), the eldest two have a reputation of being indestructible, the three are bootlegging alcohol during the prohibition era in America. Business is great and their reputation keeps people away from.

This changes when Special Deputy Charlie Rakes (Pearce) arrives looking to clean up Franklin County, Virginia, this helps Jack learn how to be part of the business in the violent side of the business. This leas Jack to make a deal with the deadliest bootlegger Floyd Banner (Oldman) and the war begins between gangs and cops.

 

Thoughts on Lawless

 

Characters/PerformanceJack is the youngster brother, he has always looked up to his brothers to do the dirty work but now he wants to get out there and get his hands dirty, Forrest if the toughest member of the family, he the one conducting most of the business and he will also be the muscles when someone messes with them. Howard is the eldest member of the brothers, he survived the war and now looks for fights while drinking. Charlie Rakes is the man trying to shut down the bootlegging business, he will kill the people involved to send his message. Floyd Banner is the biggest name in the business and now he works with the brothers but will kill anyone who crosses him.

Performance wise, Shia is good in the leading role fitting the part of lead well, Hardy is the best performer where here as the ruthless member of the team, otherwise the rest of the cast are all good throughout the film all doing what you would expect from the genre.

StoryThe story follows the bootleggers during the prohibition era in America, we see the rise of one, the downfall of another an mostly just how things went down in the battle to be the men that get turned too for supplies. This isn’t the most interesting story as none of the characters are overly likeable.

Crime The throws us into a crime world of the prohibition era which shows us just what this would have been like for the men involved.

SettingsThe settings show us just how shady the operations were on the back-country roads on America.

Final ThoughtsThis is fine, nothing special movie that can easily be forgotten when it is all set and done.

 

Overall: Fine but nothing special.

Rating

 

 

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ABC Film Challenge – Random – X – X+Y (2014)

 

Director: Morgan Matthews

Writer: James Graham (Screenplay)

Starring: Asa Buterfield, Rafe Spall, Sally Hawkins, Eddie Marsan, Jo Yang, Martin McCann

 

Plot: A socially awkward teenage math prodigy finds new confidence and new friendships when he lands a spot on the British squad at the International Mathematics Olympiad.


Tagline – True genius comes from opening your heart

Runtime: 1 Hour 51 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Sweet Drama

 

Story: X+Y starts as we meet the social awkward Nathan (Butterfield) whose father is killed in a car crash when he is young, his mother Julie (Hawkins) has struggled raising him with his awkwardness but with former prodigy and now teacher Martin Humphreys (Spall) who helps develop his own skills in maths to get to the level to compete in the Olympiad.

Qualifying Nathan finds himself going to Taiwan to compete for Britain with fellow gifted children from around the UK, guided by Richard (Marsan) in the competition. To help with learning the new country the British team is paired with the Chinese team, this gives Nathan a chance to learn a new culture with a new friend Zhang Mei (Yang). The trip teaches Nathan to open up more in his life, while back home Martin learns to stop make the excuses about his failures to perform in the Olympiad that he failed in.

 

Thoughts on X+Y

 

Characters – Nathan is a social awkward teenager, he has autism which makes it difficult for him to interact and has a gift for numbers. When he gets invited to join the British Olympiad team he must learn a new culture, meet new people and come out of the shell he is in. Martin Humphreys is a teacher that mentors Nathan, he once competed in the Olympiad but didn’t succeed, Nathan gives him hope to carry on his depressed life with his own sickness. Julie is the mother of Nathan, she has struggled with his disability but does the best she can to give him the chances he deserves. Richard runs the British team, he expects to win sometimes putting too much pressure on his team. Zhang Mei is the Chinese competitor that befriends Nathan showing him even after the troubles he has people will open up to him, she also must deal with the pressure of competing for Uncle.

PerformancesAsa Butterfield is great in this leading role, not over playing his characters condition. Rafe Spall gives us a performance that is filled with the regret his character is feeling through the film. Sally Hawkins shines in the supporting role as the supportive mother desperate to connect with her son. Jo Yang connects with Asa’s character perfectly giving us a moving supporting performance too.

StoryThe story follows how one teenager must learn to open up when it gets a chance to compete in a maths Olympiad, he has always struggled with social sides of life but uses maths to escape. Watching a story that shows the struggles of a teenager to find his place while still dealing with his own grief of losing a parent, that gets that chance to meet new people to open the world up for him is something we all like to enjoy.

Drama/RomanceThe drama comes from the troubles Nathan has been through and must learn to move on from, the key comes from the romance side of the film opening his eyes to the world.

SettingsNathan has lived a closed life, when he opens up to more by the travelling he becomes more open to everything in life being able to see things from other people’s point of view.


Scene of the Movie –
The competition in Cambridge.

That Moment That Annoyed Me We focus on moments of problems the other British team have but we don’t see enough of them.

Final ThoughtsThis is a film that surprised me a lot, I enjoyed nearly every moment of the film and believe it is one I would be recommending in the future.

 

Overall: Delightful little drama.

Rating