Live by Night

Live by Night

Live by Night

Ben Affleck writes, directs and stars in this organised crime drama set in Prohibition-era Boston. Based on the novel by Dennis Lehane (author of Gone Baby Gone, Mystic River and Shutter Island). Co-stars Zoe Saldana, Elle Fanning, Chris Cooper and Brendan Gleeson.

Taking fatherly advice is not in Joe Coughlin’s (Affleck) nature. Instead, the WWI vet is a self-proclaimed anti-establishment outlaw, despite being the son of the Boston Police Deputy Superintendent. Unlike the gangsters Joe refuses to work for, he has a sense of justice and an open heart, and both work against him — in business and in love. Driven by a need to right the wrongs committed against him and those close to him, Joe heads down a risky path that goes against his upbringing and his own moral code. Leaving the cold Boston winter behind, he and his reckless crew turn up the heat in Tampa. And while revenge may taste sweeter than the molasses that infuses every drop of illegal rum he runs, Joe will learn that it comes at a price.

2016Rating: MA15+, Strong coarse language129 minsUSA
CrimeDrama

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Live by Night / Reviews

Flicks, Steve Newall

Flicks, Steve Newall

Overlong, overly familiar in places and achingly, misguidedly, earnest in others, Live by Night sees Ben Affleck almost single-handedly try to win the Prohibition-era alcohol trade, the love of two barely-sketched women, and racism. Returning as a director after his promising start (Gone Baby Gone, The Town, Argo), Affleck’s first major misstep as a filmmaker echoes the tone-deaf errors as an actor that seemed consigned to the distant past (Gigli, Jersey Girl et al).

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Variety

Variety

It's like seeing the ghost of a terrific movie: All the pieces are in place, yet as you're watching it (or thinking back on it afterwards), there doesn't seem to be quite enough there there.

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Total Film

Total Film

Despite various beautifully orchestrated set-pieces, narratively the whole thing feels as oddly empty as a prohibition liquor bottle.

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Time Out

Time Out

Chock-full of sturdy fedoras, thick accents and double-crossing mobsters, the resulting film is both remarkably compelling and a bewildering mixed bag.

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The New York Times

The New York Times

Mr. Affleck handles the busy narrative without finding its hook, but his biggest problem is that he's fallen for his leading man.

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The Guardian

The Guardian

Increasingly preposterous and uninvolving.

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Stuff

Stuff

Ben Affleck's fourth film as director is also his least successful.

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Los Angeles Times

Los Angeles Times

Neither elegantly concise nor an epic sprawl, but rather something just awkwardly misshapen.

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Hollywood Reporter

Hollywood Reporter

The ... nagging hole in the thriller is Affleck himself, playing a tough guy with a sense of right and wrong, in a stolid performance that takes up a lot of space without packing the necessary gravitas.

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