‘Live by Night’ Movie Review

Thanks to Roadshow Films we had the chance to see Ben Affleck‘s latest film ‘Live by Night’ before its cinematic release. This is our review of the film, but – as usual – no matter what we say, we recommend that you still go to your local cinema and see the film because there is no better critic than yourself!

Based on the novel by Denis Lehane, ‘Live by Night’ stars Ben Affleck, who plays Joe Coughlin, a young outlaw who doesn’t want to be associated with gangsters. Despite this, he becomes infatuated with Emma Gould (Sienna Miller) who happens to be the lady of the second biggest gangster in Boston, Albert White (Robert Glenister).

One day after a bank robbery goes horribly wrong, Joe and Emma are caught by White. In the meantime, the police, headed by his father (Brendan Gleeson) are also after him and Joe is sent to prison after almost being killed by the mob.

After three years, Joe, who doesn’t have anything to lose, decides to join Boston gangster, Maso Pescatore (Remo Girone), who sends him to run the rum industry in Tampa, Florida, during prohibition time.

In Florida, Joe manages to run the business smoothly with his partner, Dion Bartolo (Chris Messina), and the pair deal with the Cuban community, the club owners and the police. However, during these prosperous years he falls in love with Graciela Pimentel (Zoe Saldana). At the same time, he ends up upsetting all the wrong people while setting his sights on the prospects of a new casino.

In a film with so many interesting premises, fabulous period costumes and a great cast, ‘Live by Night’ seems to have every element in place to be an astonishing film. However, from its second half, the movie is a let-down. It goes on for too long and includes many scenes that just add unnecessary drama.

Zoe Saldana and Elle Fanning‘s talents are underused. The film focuses all its attention on Affleck, who plays a charming but never ‘bad guy’ gangster. Other secondary characters, such as the Chief commissioner (Brendan Gleeson) and the head gangsters (Girone & Glenister) are spectacular.

Overall ‘Live by Night’ transports you to the prohibition era of the 1920s in a film that looks stunning. However, the storyline and the unnecessary drama wrecks what could’ve been a fantastic movie.

‘Live by Night’ opens in cinemas on January 26th.