It’s 1931, in deepest, darkest Franklin County and the Bondurant brothers; Howard (Jason Clarke) the goggle-eyed, drunken and rowdy eldest, Forrest (Tom Hardy) the hulking, pouting, indestructible middle brother and Jack (Shia LaBeouf) the clumsy, eager and impulsive runt are comfortably riding out the Depression by brewing, selling and plying the authorities with their own special brand of pungent moonshine.

Operating on the back of their feared reputation, the brothers mercilessly protect their turf until the slippery and supercilious entrance of Special Deputy Charlie Rakes threatens to uproot their pursuit of the American Dream. Thereafter follows a rumpus tale of their fight for survival littered with pretty ladies, malicious villains and ferocious punch-ups.

Based on a true story, our protagonist is not, somewhat surprisingly, Tom Hardy but Shia LaBeouf who, as Jack Bondurant, attempts to bypass his brothers authority and become the gangster he’s always fancied; the type who sits behind the wheel of his flash motorcar clad in a tailored suit, his hat cocked over one eye, a burning cigar hanging permanently from his lips, his fingertips blackened from thumbing countless dollar bills. Forrest (Hardy) lurks moodily in the background, uninterested in the ostentation, ever-ready for an opportunity to bloody his knuckles in the interest of protecting his beloved moonshine.

Despite LaBeouf’s expressive performance as the passionate and ardent youngster, it is Tom Hardy who still manages to steal the show. His southern drawl pours from his pouting lips with the correct stodginess and subtlety providing ones ears with a rather pleasant sensation. There is nothing more exasperating than an Englishman attempting to replicate an American accent, or vice versa. However, Hardy seems to have succeeded; despite replacing the majority of the script with pensive snorts and melodic grunts. Whether he’s hulking in the background, sulkily peering from beneath his hat or punching the life-force from some dastardly enemy prior to removing their testicles and mailing them to the cops, one can not help but be drawn to him at all times.

After truly murdering the Queens English with a horrifyingly exaggerated performance as King Edward VIII in ‘The Kings Speech,’ Guy Pearce has finally returned to superb villainous form. Special Agent Charlie Rakes is a foul, pompous, bow-tie sporting, heinous individual who appears to be suffering from copious psychosexual issues which manifest themselves in moments of sadistic violence. Moreover, his hair-do, a truly magnificent creation, appears to part precisely at the mid-point of his brow and spreads, in a stupendously lubricious manner to his temples akin to the parting of the Red Sea. This greasy artistry only seems to add to the skin-crawling sensation that Mr. Pearce so brilliantly brings to his character.

So, if a good gangster romp, with a boisterous, knuckle-dusting storyline, a dash of eccentric hilarity and an appearance from the ever suave Gary Oldman is right up your dark alley, this is the movie to while away your evening. Those with a delicate disposition may wish to hide in their popcorn at particular moments; you have been warned.


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