The third collaboration between director John Hillcoat and songsmith-turned-scriptwriter Nick Cave, this is a fair period piece about a family of redneck moonshiners in rural Virginia during Prohibition. Tom Hardy, Jason Clarke and even Shia LaBeouf are all quite watchable as the Bondurant brothers; Jessica Chastain and Mia Wasikowska get to play slightly beyond the Whore and Princess archetypes (but only just). Oh, and Guy Pearce and Gary Oldman get to round out the cast as a bent cop and scheming gang boss respectively.
But it is by no means the epic it clearly strives to be. It’s just too derivative, too plodding, too ordinary. An excellent calling card for Hardy, though.