John Hillcoat burst onto American screens with his Australian spaghetti western The Proposition
(2005), directing a screenplay by rocker Nick Cave, then graduated to a bleak and punishing "prestige" adaptation of Cormac McCarthy's The Road
. He returns to more familiar terrain with this movie version of The Wettest County in the World
, Matt Bondurant's fact-based novel about his grandfather's exploits as a Virginia bootlegger; like The Proposition
, it's a period drama about three brothers that was scripted by Cave, though in contrast to the sunburned archetypes of the earlier movie, the siblings in this one (Tom Hardy, Shia LaBeouf, Jason Clarke) aren't terribly well defined. Fans of The Proposition
will have to settle for sublimely evil performances by Gary Oldman (as a murderous rival) and Guy Pearce (as a government agent) and a large quotient of gut-wrenching violence.
See our full review:
Boobs of the Dead, The Wettest County in the World, and "Chicago Blues: An Urban Experience"