Believe it or not, I hadn’t seen a goiter punch before this movie. Thanks John Hillcoat! The director’s latest after ‘09’s The Road turned out to be a good companion piece to the Boardwalk Empire finale that aired last week, both being violent, bloody, hard-boiled forays into the bootlegging Wild West of the Prohibition-era 1920’s. Strong ensemble performances from a diverse A-list cast aside though, there was something fundamentally missing here, some “It Factor”, that both Hillcoat’s previous features had. Maybe it was the lackluster development of one of the core relationships in the film (Tom Hardy and Jessica Chastain), or the privation of Gary Oldman scenes, but it was something
. Despite everyone hating his guts, I actually like Shia and thought he carried the film ably as the ostensible lead, playing the runt of the Brothers Bondurant who has to evolve over the course of the film into a fighting dog to defend family territory. His scenes with Guy Pearce were a treat, with Pearce stealing the show as the crooked deputy who goes to war with the Bondurants for a cut of their backwater moonshine profits. What a greasy little perfumed shit he was.