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Prohibition Movie Seen as Drug War Parable

The stars of the upcoming Prohibition-era film Lawless deal carefully with questions on the prohibition of today.


Tom Hardy stars in Lawless. Photo via

By Valerie Tejeda


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The upcoming Prohibition-era drama Lawless—starring Tom Hardy, Shia LaBeouf and Guy Pearceis being widely interpreted as a parable for the drug war of today. “There are a lot of parallels to today, with the economic crisis, the political crisis, the war on drugs," says director John Hillcoat. "At one point we even had a montage at the beginning with what was happening now with the Mexican cartels, and that wound back to the '80s cocaine wars in Cuba and heroin in New York...until we landed on Prohibition. That was the birth of serious crime, and it feeds into everything that's going on today." Lawless is set in Franklin County, Virginia in the 1920s, and centers on a family bootlegging business that becomes threatened by rivals. It's set for released in August, and heavy violence and lots of intense gun battles are guaranteed. Prohibition is often blamed for the widespread mob violence of the '20s, so naturally reporters asked Hardy and LaBeouf for their opinions while they were promoting their movie at the Cannes Film Festival. "Next question, next question,” stonewalled LaBeouf. But Hardy was a little more forthcoming. "As the professional—in retirement," he said, "I don't want to make any political statements. There's a good argument to say 'legalize drugs' and a good argument to say [don't]...That's my stand—whatever floats your boat. Just don't get caught.”

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