Yes, the story seems to be a bit vague and not tightly woven together. But it is based on a true story and doesn't give in to the sensationalism that is often forced into Hollywood movies. Instead, it relies on a decent true story (even though some of it is probably embellished) that has the comedic and dramatic elements that can make it stand on its own. This is then magnified by some absolutely terrific acting performances. Tom Hardy, Shia LaBoeuf, Gary Oldman and Guy Pearce are absolutely perfect in their roles. This is especially true of Hardy. He plays the enigmatic anti-hero very well.
Being a historical piece set in the Depression era of bootlegers means that it needed to have authenticity in its costumes, sets and language. And I think it did a very good job of that as well. At no time did it ever feel like any of that stuff was forced or fake. I especially like the interior of the gas station/restaurant/Bondurant residence. Right down to the newspaper "wallpaper", it really seemed like a lower-middle class "do what you need to do to survive" family of bachelors lived there.
I said it seemed to move a bit slow. But it was done before I knew it. And once it was done, I didn't feel like I had been in there that long. I think that's a testament to the superior film making all around.
See it. It's a great example of a very well made, truth based story.