Now that the Cannes Film Festival lineup for 2012 has been unveiled, the countdown begins to see which competition entries will release trailers and clips first. Near the front of the pack is John Hillcoat's Lawless (formerly known as The Wettest County until Terrence Malick gave up the title from his forthcoming film), which looks like a shot of gangster-ized adrenaline.
With a stellar cast (...and Shia LaBeouf) and a fun setting/subject matter (Depression Era bootleggers), Lawless always held a lot of appeal for me. What really caught my eye, however, was director John Hillcoat, whose two previous films (The Road and The Proposition) were simultaneously elegant and brutal. So, knowing Hillcoat's previous work, I thought I had an idea of how Lawless would look and feel. If the trailer is indication, I'm completely wrong. Lawless looks both talky and fast paced, and marks a major departure from the director's previous work. Granted, part of being an artist is the chance to explore new styles, but I can't help feel that some of Lawless looks a little ordinary, and that we're losing a chance to see what his previous style could have had on this sort of story. Granted, the cast looks to be in fine form, and Gary Oldman and Guy Pearce look like excellent villains, but as much as there is to like here, I can't help but feel that we might be headed for something of a missed opportunity.
Trailer Grade: B-