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Guns, gangsters and illegal booze

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While it can’t have been a hugely enjoyable period to live through (unless you were a Fedora-topped crime kingpin), prohibition-era US has inspired some fine cinema. Classics such as Some Like It Hot, Miller’s Crossing, The Untouchables and Once Upon A Time In America (to cite but four) all unfold during the alcohol-unfriendly Twenties and Thirties. As of this summer, there could well be another name to add to that already impressive list.

Blood-soaked western Lawless (based on novel The Wettest County In The World, by Matt Bondurant, grandson of one of the protagonists) was unveiled at the Cannes Film Festival last month, and – judging by its cast alone – you may well want to camp outside your local multiplex come August.

Shia LaBeouf (above) and the mighty Tom Hardy (right) take centre stage as a pair of bootlegging brothers, trying desperately to protect their lucrative moonshine business from short-fused lawman Charlie Rakes (Guy Pearce).

Jessica Chastain (The Debt, Take Shelter) also appears as a barmaid, and Gary Oldman tops things off as maniacal gangster Floyd Banner, one of LaBeouf and Hardy’s loyal customers. As if that wasn’t enough, Nick Cave (yes, the Bad Seeds’ leader) takes on both script-writing and soundtrack-making duties.

As you’d expect from the subject matter, Lawless promises to be a gory affair. Throats are cut, faces are punched, people who get on Gary Oldman’s nerves are hit with shovels until they stop breathing. These are the lengths the film’s characters will go for a stiff drink. By the time the credits roll, you’ll probably need one, too.

Lawless will be at cinemas nationwide in August

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