The anticipation for John Hillcoat‘s “Lawless” — formerly known as “The Wettest County In The World” and then just “The Wettest County” — has been nearly unbearable. Going through a few release date shifts, and the aforementioned title change, fans eager for the film got a great boost of good news when it was announced last week that the film landed a coveted In Competition slot at the Cannes Film Festival. What at first seemed like The Weinstein Company moving around and tinkering with a movie they didn’t know what to do with, instead looks like the studio positioning the film for the best rollout possible.
Well, after looking at the same couple of stills and set photos for a year, we now have a brand new trailer to show off what Hillcoat and co. have been working on. And it looks pretty damn great. Based on the novel by Matt Bondurant, this true story Prohibition-era tale is led by Tom Hardy, Shia LaBeouf and Jason Clarke as the Bondurant brothers who run a bootlegging gang but find their moonshine dynasty in Franklin County, Virginia threatened by the authorities wanting a cut. And while the trailer looks very much like it has been edited to appeal to a wide audience (the intertitles are corny, and the trailer music generic), Hillcoat’s eye for broad vistas, his unflinching portrayal of violence and the power of the performances come through.
Tom Hardy looks like he’ll be making yet another star-making turn (though we’re less convinced of LaBeouf), but no surprise it’s Gary Oldman as a gangster who employs the boys and an awesomely smarmy Guy Pearce, as a special agent tasked to bring them down, who truly shine and bring this thing to life. Not to mention that Jessica Chastain, as always, looks fantastic. Epic in scope and with the rugged aesthetic Hillcoat made his name on with “The Road” and “The Proposition,” we can’t wait.
“Lawless” opens on August 31st and will play the Cannes Film Festival next month. Watch below.