The Commerce Journal

September 28, 2012

‘Lawless’ examines bonds of brotherhood

By Caleb Slinkard
The Commerce Journal

COMMERCE — I saw the movie “Lawless” with my twin brother earlier this week. The movie features Tom Hardy, Shia LeBeouf, Guy Pearce and Gary Oldman, and is set in Prohibition-era Virginia. The film is based on a true story, and features three brothers (played by Hardy, LeBeouf and Jason Clarke) who fight to preserve their illegal moonshine stills against a manipulative government agent (Pearce) who wants a piece of the action. The movie is harsh, brutal and bittersweet, but it contains some fantastic performances, particularly from Hardy, and it made me reflect on my own brothers.

My brother Joshua is my identical twin. He is currently the program director of the Boys & Girls Club of Northeast Texas, as well as a youth pastor at Authentic Life Fellowship in Greenville. My younger brother, Nathan, is 17 and a senior in high school. We were all homeschooled growing up, so we saw a fair share of each other and got into plenty of fights. But now that we’re all (mostly) grown, there’s a strong bond between us that I think many brothers share, a bond that served as the foundation of “Lawless.”

I have other friends that I commonly refer to as “brother,” who I care about and make sacrifices for. But there is something intrinsically strong about the bond I have with my brothers. We enjoy each others’ company. We look out for each other. I know that in any violent incident they would have my back in a heartbeat, and I would have theirs’. But our bond is more than simply backup in a fight.

There is a scene in Lawless where Hardy’s character Forrest is severely injured because Clarke’s character Howard wasn’t there to back him up. In the hospital Forrest, who is having difficulty talking, looks at a clearly distraught Howard and says “You should have been there, Howard.” Forrest isn’t angry because he’s injured. He’s disappointed because Howard let him down. I’m used to people letting me down in my life. Unfortunately, it just happens. But with brothers, it’s not supposed to.

I’m proud of my brothers when they accomplish things. I brag about both of them all the time. It encourages me when I hear others say good things about them. Nathan has won a state bowling championship three times, as well as numerous other bowling tournaments. He’s a two-handed bowler, which is unique in the bowling world. He’s also pretty athletic, and he hopes to major in nutrition at Texas State.

Josh is a youth pastor, works for a non-profit, and goes to school full-time at Criswell Bible College. He’s well-known in the Greenville area, and universally liked.

We have our differences, much like the three brothers in “Lawless.” Often, we are each other’s harshest critics. We know how to push each other’s buttons, we know how to play on each other’s insecurities. But we’re allowed to make those comments, not anyone else. And when someone threatens one of us, the other two are there to nullify that threat, much like one of the final scenes in “Lawless.”

I doubt we’ll ever have to worry about illegal liquor stills or rogue officers of the law, but it’s nice to know that whatever problems I have to face in the future, I won’t have to face them alone.