'Lawless' Critic Reviews

96%
MovieWeb:   7 reviews
67%
Rotten Tomatoes:   198 reviews
  • Julian Roman MovieWeb (Top Critic)
    60
    Lawless has its moments with a top notch cast, but is not up to par with Hillcoat's previous work.
    Full Review » 2 years ago
  • Owen Gleiberman Entertainment Weekly (Top Critic)
    67
    Hardy's presence is compelling, but the film comes fully alive only when it turns bloody. At those moments, though, it has the kick of a mule.
    Full Review » 3 years ago
  • A.O. Scott New York Times (Top Critic)
    40
    Mr. Hardy mostly grunts, growls and ribbits, occasionally interrupting his angry bullfrog impersonation to deliver down-home bromides that make him sound like Toby Keith choking on a Cheeto.
    Full Review » 2 years ago
  • Jason Solomons Guardian [UK] (Top Critic)
    40
    Star-studded and violent yet empty as a broken whisky bottle.
    Full Review » 3 years ago
  • Peter Bradshaw Guardian [UK] (Top Critic)
    40
    Nothing somehow seems to be at stake for anyone, and the brutality seems to be there simply to underline how tough and real it all is.
    Full Review » 3 years ago
  • Claudia Puig USA Today (Top Critic)
    The unflinching slicing and dicing is viscerally brutal, but without sufficient character development Lawless simply feels lifeless.
    Full Review » 2 years ago
  • Ann Hornaday Washington Post (Top Critic)
    50
    An inescapable sense of "so what?" sets in early with "Lawless," almost as soon as Shia LaBeouf begins his lackluster opening narration.
    Full Review » 2 years ago
  • Mark Feeney Boston Globe (Top Critic)
    63
    Much of the action may be nearly as grim as in director John Hillcoat's previous feature, "The Road" - "Lawless" is very bloody - but the scenery and production design are a whole lot nicer.
    Full Review » 2 years ago
  • Nick Pinkerton Village Voice (Top Critic)
    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.
    Full Review » 2 years ago
  • Elizabeth Weitzman New York Daily News (Top Critic)
    80
    The action is, overall, as exciting as the primary performances are impressive.
    Full Review » 2 years ago
  • John Anderson Wall Street Journal (Top Critic)
    You can sense the filth, and smell the rust, and feel the ingrained poverty that might well convince a family of survivors (of World War I and the Spanish flu) to make their fortune selling moonshine to their neighbors.
    Full Review » 2 years ago
  • Chris Vognar Dallas Morning News (Top Critic)
    75
    Lawless turns the literary tone of its source novel into something faster, leaner and more populist.
    Full Review » 2 years ago
  • Glenn Kenny MSN Movies (Top Critic)
    60
    This isn't to say that there's not enough here, but just don't look for it all to add up.
    Full Review » 2 years ago
  • Anthony Lane New Yorker (Top Critic)
    The center of narrative gravity is hard to locate; for whom are we rooting, and does anything really ripple outward from this nasty local fight?
    Full Review » 2 years ago
  • Roger Ebert Chicago Sun-Times (Top Critic)
    63
    I can only admire this film's craftsmanship and acting, and regret its failure to rise above them.
    Full Review » 2 years ago
  • Michael Phillips Chicago Tribune (Top Critic)
    63
    This should've been a really good picture, especially with Hillcoat's crack ensemble. Instead it's a stilted battle waged between the material and the interpreters.
    Full Review » 2 years ago
  • J. R. Jones Chicago Reader (Top Critic)
    Fans of The Proposition will have to settle for sublimely evil performances by Gary Oldman (as a murderous rival) and Guy Pearce (as a government agent) and a large quotient of gut-wrenching violence.
    Full Review » 2 years ago
  • Steven Rea Philadelphia Inquirer (Top Critic)
    75
    A story of entrepreneurship, of family, of fighting for one's rights - the right to make white lightning, and money. It's as American as apple pie.
    Full Review » 2 years ago
  • Colin Covert Minneapolis Star Tribune (Top Critic)
    75
    Shia LaBeouf plays young Jack Bondurant with more conviction and skill than we have seen before.
    Full Review » 2 years ago
  • Tom Long Detroit News (Top Critic)
    59
    "Lawless" is a sprawling story of dirt road bloodlines and stubbornness, solid but a bit out of control.
    Full Review » 2 years ago
  • Bill Goodykoontz Arizona Republic (Top Critic)
    80
    At its core, this is a film about men doing violence to men. And they do plenty of it.
    Full Review » 2 years ago
  • Lou Lumenick New York Post (Top Critic)
    38
    At least a third of its two hours is devoted to "arty'' shots of landscapes.
    Full Review » 2 years ago
  • Peter Howell Toronto Star (Top Critic)
    50
    All slicked up but mostly firing blanks, John Hillcoat's Prohibition-era western Lawless looks and sounds great but fails to tell a compelling story.
    Full Review » 2 years ago
  • Eric D. Snider Film.com (Top Critic)
    67
    A great deal of rowdy, crowd-pleasing fun, and there ain't nothin' wrong with that.
    Full Review » 3 years ago
  • Andrew O'Hehir Salon.com (Top Critic)
    "Lawless" offers a compelling, gruesome and instructive time-travel exercise.
    Full Review » 2 years ago
AVG. RATING 4.0 GREAT
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46 people have rated Lawless
  • 5 Star:
    9
    20%
  • 23
    50%
  • 12
    27%
  • 2 Star:
    2
    5%
  • 1 Star:
    0%
  • 0 Star:
    0%
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