Live By Night (2016)
During Prohibition, Joe Coughlin (Ben Affleck) is determined to not be a gangster. Being the son of a police captain, he chooses to do his dirty work from the shadows, but when he falls in love with the girlfriend of a mob boss, he can’t help but know his days are numbered. He heads to Florida to start a new life, and becomes one of the top gangsters of the area, but he isn’t alone as other competitors test his influence as well as the Klu Klux Klan.
Directed and written by Ben Affleck himself, this movie is a major drop from his other films like The Town, Argo and Gone Baby Gone. Live by Night is convoluted and tries to be a gangster film when it is clearly a drama. Scorsese knows how to make great gangster films because he adds personality and flair to the mix with plenty of shocking moments, but Live by Night plays it safe with gun fights a couple of explosions, but the problem comes from the character development. These characters are boring and have little in terms of flair and personality. Think about Ray Liotta or Joe Pesci from Goodfellas and imagine him with the personality of cardboard. That is how Ben Affleck feels. Actually that is how many of these characters feel.
With a run time of over 2 hours, I can’t help but call this movie boring. It is simply overdone and where there is glimpses of story, it is hindered with dialogue. We want more action from gangster films and this one lacks in that department. I hesitate to call this movie bad, but when you feel like the movie needs to move along, that isn’t a good sign. I think Ben Affleck should have gotten someone else for the lead role instead of himself. Skip this one. Co-starring Brendan Gleeson, Chris Cooper, Chris Messina, Elle Fanning, Matthew Maher, Robert Glenister, Sienna Miller, Titus Welliver, and Zoe Saldana.
5/10 Stars – Clearly a drama instead of a gangster film, this movie lacks the flair and personality we have come to expect from this kind of movie thanks to Martin Scorsese.