There aren't a lot of big surprises or revelations in The Lawless Heart, and the ending is a bit of a cliché, but overall this is a solid, well-crafted drama with fine performances. The tone tends to be melancholy, but the film isn't devoid of humor or hope and it's also appealingly unpretentious. Furthermore, the filmmakers show a keen eye for detail and a deft hand at juggling the disparate elements of the plot. The film shows how people's lives intertwine and how seemingly trivial background details have greater meaning once we understand their context; characters and events are introduced at the periphery of the story and then take on greater resonance when they are revisited later in the film, as we explore someone else's life. Granted, sometimes the story lines seem a bit sketchy, and one wonders if the filmmakers should have made different choices about which scenes to show us; however, most of the time it seems like the filmmakers made the right choice.