About a third of the way through Lawless, I thought that something about it felt a bit familiar. At the end, I checked the credits and I noted that the screenplay was written by Nick Cave and I realised exactly what it reminded me of: it has a very similar fear to 2005’s The Proposition. Only, frankly, I thought The Proposition was better.
Lawless returns to a theme that Cave really enjoys, outlaw brotherhood. In Lawless, the three brothers are now bootleggers during the Prohibition, producing the moonshine in their Franklin County farm. The brothers (Tom Hardy, Shia Le Beouf and Jason Clarke) are looking to expand their business (with, of course, the obligatory romantic subplots) while trying to keep Guy Pearce’s crooked lawman from gaining control of their business.
Maybe part of the problem for me is that my family comes from that area (western North Carolina rather than Southwestern Virginia, but close enough that I’m familiar with this place and its culture – my father likes to say that the best advice my grandfather gave him was not to drink moonshine) and while The Proposition had something incredibly interesting to say about Cave’s native Australia and the kind of culture it breeds, he has nowhere near that sort of insight about Franklin County. The relationship between the brothers is also fairly uninteresting – while Hardy gives a great performance, Hardy as the brain, Clarke as the brawn and La Beouf as the screw up is not a particularly exciting dynamic. Jessica Chastain, as Hardy’s love interest, is as good as always, but she’s basically used to stand there and look pretty. It’s also worth noting that this is gory, which is fine (I’m a big Tarantino fan) but again, it really was a faint echo of The Proposition for me.
Since the premise of the movie was about moonshiners during the Prohibition, I thought the best cake I could make would be one with a whiskey twist (also appropriate as Arthur’s Day was coming up!)
Chocolate Whiskey Bundt Cake (adapted from Epicurious)
1 cup cocoa powder
1 1/2 cups coffee (I would make sure that it’s quite strong) [not pictured]
1/2 cup whiskey
1 cup unsalted butter
2 cups sugar
2 cups plain flour
1 1/4 tsp bicarbonate of soda
2 large eggs [not pictured]
1 tsp vanilla
Cream together butter and sugar in a saucepan over medium heat until the butter had melted. Add the coffee and whiskey, heating until the sugar has dissolved into the liquid. Pour liquid into a (heatproof mixing bowl) and add the cocoa powder.
Add the eggs and the vanilla. Sift in the flour and baking powder. Pour the mixture into a bundt tin (it doesn’t have to be as lovely as my cathedral bundt pan, but it certainly helps….) Cook at 150C for about half n hour to forty minutes (make sure to do the toothpick test!)
Lawless is in theatres now.