Lawless is a 2012 American crime drama film directed by John Hillcoat. The screenplay by Australian singer-screenwriter Nick Cave is based on Matt Bondurant's historical novel The Wettest County in the World (2008). The film stars Shia LaBeouf, Tom Hardy, Gary Oldman, Mia Wasikowska, Jessica Chastain, Jason Clarke, and Guy Pearce.
The film is about the violent conflict between three bootlegging brothers–Forrest (Hardy), Howard (Clarke), and Jack Bondurant (LaBeouf)–and the ruthless Deputy Charley Rakes (Pearce) and his men, who try to shut down the brothers' Prohibition-era moonshine business after Forrest refuses to pay the cops off. The film was in development for about three years before being produced. It screened at the 2012 Cannes Film Festival and was theatrically released on August 29, 2012.
In 1931, the Bondurant brothers—Forrest, Howard and Jack—are running a successful moonshine business in Franklin County, in the Virginia Piedmont region. They use their gas station and restaurant as a front for their illegal activities, and their friend Cricket Pate assists them in their endeavors. One day, Jack witnesses mobster Floyd Banner shooting a competitor, and Jack and Floyd exchange looks.