Here’s the trailer for John Hillcoat’s Lawless, with Shia LaBeouf and Tom Hardy as the real-life-historical brothers Bondurant, devil-may-care bootleggers running white lightning and dodging gangsters and crooked cops in Depression-era Virginia. Normally we’d make a joke here about Young Tommy-Guns, point out that circus-people descendant and budding graphic novelist Shia LaBeouf is the only actor who’s ever made us nostalgic for Short Round, facetiously speculate on which of these independent liquor distributors grows up to be Bo and Luke Duke’s Uncle Jesse, land on a one-liner about how all the vests and side parts on display make it look as if these hillbillies are about to make that moonshine into artisanal cocktails that pair nicely with a plate of locally sourced cured meats and stone-ground mustard, and call it a day (or, OK, an afternoon).
On the other hand: As much it looks like a fruit jar brimming with 190-proof corn, Lawless reunites the director (Hillcoat), screenwriter (biblically badass Bad Seeds/Grinderman front beast Nick Cave), and one of the stars (Guy Pearce) of 2005’s extraordinary The Proposition, which used a similar gang-of-bros setup to explore the violent friction between Victorian law and frontier brutality in flyblown 1880s Australia. So that’s promising. Also: Just look at Guy Pearce in this thing. Look at his weird head. He looks like a Dick Tracy villain. Pearce is on a fascinatingly weird roll right now — dancing on the edge of camp as Kate Winslet’s gold-digger husband in Mildred Pierce, smirking through the appealingly ludicrous space-prison-break schlockbuster Lockout like Johnny Depp channeling Duke Nukem, and now, in this one, as the big-city deputy out to take down LaBeouf and Hardy, using a puppy-torturing giggle to deliver lines like, “Do you have any idea what a Thompson submachine gun does to a mortal?” Something tells us we’re going to enjoy finding out.