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Live By Night Movie Review

Updated on January 13, 2017
Alec Zander profile image

Alec is an up-and-coming film critic with a true passion for the film industry & hopes his reviews and articles will help launch his career.

Live By Night is a well-conceived, well-made film with impeccable performances. The film keeps you intrigued and engaged throughout, never dropping the suspense but rather building it gradually until the climax and even hits the audience with one last twist before the credits roll.

The film follows Joe Coughlin, played by Ben Affleck, a low-level street thug who is offered a job by a well-known mob boss Albert White, played by Robert Glenister. Joe declines and, after a heist gone wrong and also being betrayed by Albert's wife (and Joe's adulterous love interest) Emma, played by Sienna Miller, Joe is beaten and left in the hands of the police. Joe's father, Thomas, played by Brendan Gleeson, is a police captain who gets his son a good deal: 3 years prison and probation afterwards. Considering how the heist went wrong, that was a breeze compared to what could have happened. Joe comes under the employment of Maso Pescatore, played by Remo Girone, who sends Joe to Tampa at the height of the Prohibition to head the Rum-Running business.

The performances were impeccable and brilliant. Ben Affleck proves once again that he is a master director and has come a long way as an actor. Elle Fanning is certainly moving on up the "fame ladder" and takes control of every scene in which she's featured.

The story was fantastic and built suspense in every moment, but what hindered the film most was the fact that there was almost too much story. The film covered so much ground that its two-hour span almost felt overstuffed. I'd wager that there's even more material in the novel that the film was based on that was left out due to time constrictions. I'm not bashing the movie by any means but sometimes too much story diminishes the pizzazz that makes the film all the more enjoyable for the audience.

In conclusion, I enjoyed the film. It's not another Affleck masterpiece such as Argo or The Town but it certainly is fantastic in its own way. Honestly I love Ben Affleck's directorial skills and I wanted so badly to give it all 4 stars but I couldn't. I instead give the film a 3 out of 4.

© 2017 Alec Zander

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