Live By Night review by Bobby Blakey
Over the years Ben Affleck has established himself as a truly great director with films like Argo and The Town. Now he has returned to the both the director’s chair and starring role with his latest film Live By Night that features a great supporting cast including Elle Fanning, Brendan Gleeson, Chris Messina, Sienna Miller, Zoe Saldana, Chris Cooper, and Matthew Maher, but does it live up to his past great films or will it be a deal gone wrong?
Live By Night follows Joe Coughlin, the youngest son of a prominent Boston police captain who has long since turned his back on his strict and proper upbringing. Now having graduated from a childhood of petty theft to a career in the pay of the city's most fearsome mobsters, Joe enjoys the spoils, thrills, and notoriety of being an outlaw. Joe embarks on a dizzying journey up the ladder of organized crime that takes him from the flash of Jazz Age Boston to the sensual shimmer of Tampa's Latin Quarter to the sizzling streets of Cuba. I am a sucker for a good mob/crime story and after seeing this trailer was looking forward to seeing what Affleck did with the genre. I know the film didn’t get the love it deserved, but I really enjoyed it. The story isn’t anything we haven’t seen before in some way, but at this point most of this genre fall into that category. There are some slow moments here and there, but that seems more by design and necessity to establish the lives and directions these characters are going.
Everyone here did a great job with their roles with Affleck leading the charge all around and offering up a good performance. His character feels like an everyman that makes him a bit more relatable, but still carries himself like someone who would rise up just as he did. My personal favorite here was Chris Messina who offers up a great memorable character overall. Visually the film looks great taking you back to the prohibition days of the ‘20s which is pivotal to make this film work. Seeing action sequences in this era is all the more impressive when it is handled like it was here. There is a great car chase that you might think wouldn’t be all that exciting with the era’s cars, but Affleck and his team pulled it off.
While I can see how some might not fully get into this film I really dug it. The final act action sequence and the direction it completed the story were great directions and exciting to watch. It’s a shame this film didn’t get more love as I think it once again showed Affleck’s strengths as a filmmaker and I look forward to seeing where he goes next. In addition to the film this release includes commentary, deleted scenes, and featurettes that takes you further behind bringing this film to life.
Join Coughlin’s rise with Live By Night available now on Digital HD, On Demand, Blu-ray, and DVD from Warner Bros. Home Entertainment.