Live by Night Blu-ray review


Live By Night, per the Wikipedia page, is a 2016 American crime drama film written, directed, co-produced and starring Ben Affleck.  The movie is based on the 2012 novel of the same name by Dennis Lehane. Also, starring in the movie are: Elle Fanning, Brendan Gleeson, Chris Messina, Sienna Miller, Zoe Saldana and Chris Cooper. The film premiered in New York City on 13 December 2016, received mixed reviews, and was a box office bomb, grossing just $21 million against its $65 million budget.

A brief overview of the movie is that it follows a disillusioned Coughlin (Affleck) after fighting in World War I, in Boston, where he becomes an outlaw, and never wants to bow to authority again.  Ten years later during a robbery, he’s approached by an Irish gangster Albert White (Robert Glenister) to help in the Mob war against the Italians, which is headed by Maso Pescatore (Remo Girone).  Coughlin declines, but gets pulled into organized crime due to his clandestine relationship with White’s mistress, Emma Gould (Miller). However, a botched bank-heist getaway, a double-cross, and Coughlin is in prison.  He believes that Gould has been killed.  Coughlin and Dion are caught between White and Pescatore, the latter now flanked by his dimwit son Digger (Max Casella). While Affleck aims for the Coppola tradition of operatic bloodbaths, the execution falls short, unfolding with the same rote efficiency as an earlier Boston cops-and-robbers chase or Joe’s series of retaliatory strikes against the KKK.

There are many plot holes in the film, which I feel are there due to scenes being edited out due to time, and thus leave you with more questions than answers by the end of the movie.  Spoiler alert!!  For instance, what happened between Figgis (Cooper) and his daughter Loretta Figgis (Fanning) that caused her to flee to L.A. and for her to commit suicide?  Why did Figgis shoot Graciela (Saldana) at the end of the movie so many years later?  I understand that racism and the KKK are evil, but why was that KKK subplot even in the film?  Overall Live by Night is not worth seeing, it lacks an edge, and a narrative to make it memorable.