Live by Night (2016) Review

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Following Joe Coughlin from Boston to Florida as the Gangsters look to profit during the prohibition but must wade off the competition and the Ku Klux Klan!

Ben Affleck takes on not only the starring role but also directs the film and he seems to have had some very good success from behind the camera as well as in front of it in recent years. The general consensus was that Affleck was very wide of the mark with this one and most things I seemed to see around the film was that it was disappointing and lacking.

I guess the best thing about those type of things before heading to the cinema to see a film like that is that your expectations are then very low. That worked out well for me as I will admit that I then enjoyed this film a lot more than I ever expected to. I will admit that I had no background knowledge on the story or anything. It has some pretty nice twists and turns at the moments when you think you have worked out exactly what was going to happen next.

So Joe kept telling everyone (and himself) that he was not a gangster at all. He just did small jobs despite his father being a cop. Which I guess helps him out in the end, but after a lost lover he vows to change things and pretty much sells his soul. Which is not really expected. This is when our action heads from Boston to Florida, I will admit that I really do like films based around this time with the cool suits and hats. Plenty of guns going around as well.

Chief Figgis was certainly one of the most interesting and complex characters that we get in the film and really made some scenes a whole lot better than they could have been. I guess that was because Chris Cooper took on that role and let’s face it he is always pretty great. I have no say though another film that I have seen in the past few weeks that totally underuses Brendan Gleeson, come on what is wrong with people?! He is great!

I am trying to remain positive but I guess that was just because my expectations were so low. I thought it actually felt like two, maybe three different films all rolled into one. As the first act seemed to be long forgotten about until well we didn’t really care anymore. Which was a shame as we were left wondering a lot about Emma.

I fail to understand the hype around Elle Fanning and really do think she is just an awful actress. Honestly what is with everything around her? How on earth does she even get top billing on lists as well considering the array on talent that is involved in this film. Her character Loretta was just awful as well. Although I guess that could be due to her “performance” if we can even call it that.

Probably not the best time of year to release this one though in all honesty due to the high quality of films that we have coming out around Awards season and this will just be seen at the wrong time if people decide to pick it at all. I was kinda wishing I had decided to see La La Land for the third time. I did enjoy Ben Affleck’s performance though but I do think he is impressive (most of the time) on screen.

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3 thoughts on “Live by Night (2016) Review

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  1. Agree with you regarding Elle Fanning. Although her character in Neon Demon was supposed to be bland, I think that’s just her acting as a whole in every movie. I have this screener at home, but I think I’m going to pass. It’s surprising seeing a dud come from Affleck who has such a positive directing resume, eh?

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