Stepping back in history provides a fascinating backdrop to stories.
Mark Twain's much used quote "Truth is stranger than fiction" is often the case when historical events are transformed into movies.
Lawless is set in Depression-era Virginia and focuses on the Bondurant brothers, Forrest (Tom Hardy), Jack (Shia LaBeouf) and Howard (Jason Clarke).
The deeds these boys get up to are hard to believe but their story is real.
The Bondurants live in an era of prohibition and in their part of the world bootlegging is the done thing. Overlooked by the police, they go about their business distilling alcohol and selling it to the thirsty locals.
That is until a new deputy - Charlie Rakes (Guy Pearce) - arrives in town and wants his cut of the proceeds or he'll close them all down with as much bloodshed as is required.
Rakes is an unusual creature, a dangerous mix of wanton violence and obsessively clean appearance.
It is fair to say Rakes has never taken on the likes of Forrest Bondurant, a hard-as-nails man who believes he is immortal despite the business he is involved in.
When these two men clash there can only be one winner - death.
Lawless is a hard and gritty story with death never far from the screen but is does tell a gripping tale of life in another era.
(R18) Roadshow Entertainment
Rating: 3.5 / 5