Lawless is saved from being a boring, lifeless gangster movie by it's performances. Tom Hardy, Guy Pearce, Jessica Chastain, and yes, even Shia Lebouf succeed in creating a fun, entertaining, not very substantial entry into American film industries favorite genres, gangster/outlaw cinema.
Tom Hardy is quickly headed toward being regarded as one of the best actors of his generation. He's taken on a number of roles that differ in significant ways and succeeded in making them all memorable, genuine and unpredictable. He does it again playing Forrest Bondurant, the leader of the bootlegging Bondurant clan during Prohibition. Based on a true story, chronicled in Matt Bondurant's novel "The Wettest County in the World", Hardy manages to create an enigmatic, charismatic stillness as the center of the films events. Shia Lebouf is definitely the films lead, but Hardy's character is really the heart of the story.