So. I missed like the first ten minutes of this movie cause I was late to the theatre (parent problems) but I DIDN’T miss how FUCKING SICK IT IS. Oh my god. If you follow this blog with any kind of regularity (and if you don’t, fuck you lol jk) you know that I REALLY am obsessed with Batman/The Dark Knight, etc. Well, Bane and Commissioner Gordon are in this movie and Tom Hardy is everything in this movie he wasn’t in Batman. Like his character is SO AWESOME AND GREAT.
Okay lemme back up- basically it’s set during prohibition in this tiny southern town, I think in North Carolina, but that might just be wishful thinking (Ugh it’s Virginia). So there are these brothers- ‘the Bondurant boys’ as everyone calls them and there’s this local legend that they’re immortal, which if you look at Tom Hardy in all his muscled stature is completely believable. The other brothers are Howard who is I think older than Tom Hardy (film name: Forrest) who is an angry alcoholic type- but not in a destructive way, in an endearing way- (if someone can be an alcoholic in an endearing way) then the youngest is Jack Bondurant (Shia LeBouef). He starts out the movie with a lot to live up to and very much in the shadow of his brothers but with the success of their bootlegging operation that he’s sort of responsible for, he grows into this wannabe gangster type, buying expensive suits and cars (singular, car) and courting a preacher’s daughter who is ALICE! From the new Alice in Wonderland. (And the daughter in the Kids Are Alright- the lesbian mom movie.)
But his best friend is this kid Cricket who had rickets (not making this up) when he was a kid and now his legs are sort of crippled. Am I allowed to say cripple? Idk. But he is. But he’s also this genius and he figures out many of the innovations they use in their distillery and how to soup up car engines to make their cars go faster (he actually reminded me a lot of the mechanic in the Fast and the Furious who was a genius but then didn’t do well in school because he had ADD. Oh, 2001).
Okay, the main bad guy is this enforcer from Chicago (big city boy) who is trying to put the squeeze on a lot of small outfit bootlegging operations. At first it seemed like he wanted a cut (which did NOT fly with Forrest) but then it seemed like he just wanted to shut them down. The dude who played him was Guy Pearce (Memento hello) and he was INCREDIBLE. Like, there’s this one scene right after we first meet him and he’s eating a biscuit (english biscuit not southern biscuit) with the sheriff and he has this laugh and all of a sudden you’re like, OH you’re evil. He was excellent. Excellent.
This whole movie was the perfect balance of momentum and drama fused with a careful stillness and attention to detail and this deliberate consideration. You have scenes where you’re literally watching someone breathe and it’s handled perfectly (Jessica Chastain, perfection) and then these bloodbath action scenes and there’s this balance and it works.
There’s also this wonderful handiling of the ‘legend’ I sort of missed that, I’m sure it was explained in the beginning, but there wasn’t this cheap element of supernatural or special effects that seemed rushed/forced as is so often used in movies now (Wolverine origins I’m looking RIGHT at you) it was something people believed and talked about, but you never really knew if you believed it or not.
The 1920’s shit hits the fan when Jack takes Mia Wasikowska, Bertha, his love, to a romantic jaunt to the still. The still or distillery (1920’s slang! Their ‘bae’ if you will) was moved to the woods so the evil middle part that was Guy Pearce couldn’t find it. Which is exactly why he followed Jack and Bertha (THAT’S HER NAME) into the woods. They apprehend them, but Howard was nearby, (thank god for his desire to drink alone in the woods in the middle of the day!) and he comes to help out. Everyone escapes/is let go except Cricket, who Evil Charlie pushes into this clearing of underbrush and MURDERS. He starts to suffocate him and you think he’s just gonna rough him up but then he BREAKS HIS NECK WITH HIS HANDS AND HIS LIMP BODY FALLS TO THE FLOOR. It was a lot.
This is the straw that broke the camel’s back for lil Shia, he gets guns and gets riled up and after a one day resting period, drives to go kill Charlie Rakes. They have a bloody standoff in which most everyone is shot, most notably Forrest, like seven times. Jack follows Charlie into a covered bridge and shoots him, then Howard knifes him in the back for good measure. I’m a big fan of the belief evil people should die in painful ways.
Before Howard and Forrest run out the house to follow Jack to this gun stand off that will inevitably occur, there is a wonderful scene with Maggie (Jessica Chastain) and Forrest where we find out that she drove him to the hospital the night his throat got slit (oh right, that happened) and he didn’t walk the 20 miles himself like everyone thought. Even he is surprised, “I thought I walked.” But then this sets off a chain of thought spark-plugs in his mind and begins a line of questioning to Maggie about that night: “You came back that night? Did they see you? What happened?” Which of course we know she got raped but she starts crying and then looks him in the eye and says, “Not a goddamned thing.” Which the first time I watched this movie (because I am an idiot) I was like, “maybe nothing happened!” but this go-around it’s clearer to me that this is her way of not letting it control/get to her.
Also, if you couldn’t decipher, I wrote the first half(ish) of this review 2 years ago when this movie came out and I saw it in theaters, then the second half last night after I watched the DVD of it I got from the library. So not only differences in viewer perspective but subtle documentation of my growth as a writer and person!
The last scene of this movie is a picturesque “Where Are They Now” cap on everything- they are all having dinner together in a log cabin, and everyone got married. Not going to spoil the ending but it addresses the legend in a whimsical way. Overall I love this movie. It’s great. Also I want to have sex with Tom Hardy.