6.4/10
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Live by Night (2016)

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A group of Boston-bred gangsters set up shop in balmy Florida during the Prohibition era, facing off against the competition and the Ku Klux Klan.

Director:

Ben Affleck

Writers:

Ben Affleck (screenplay by), Dennis Lehane (based on the novel by)
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3,651 ( 223)
3 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Ben Affleck ... Joe Coughlin
Elle Fanning ... Loretta Figgis
Remo Girone ... Maso Pescatore
Brendan Gleeson ... Thomas Coughlin
Robert Glenister ... Albert White
Matthew Maher ... RD Pruitt
Chris Messina ... Dion Bartolo
Sienna Miller ... Emma Gould
Miguel ... Esteban Suarez (as Miguel J. Pimentel)
Zoe Saldana ... Graciela
Chris Cooper ... Chief Figgis
Titus Welliver ... Tim Hickey
Max Casella ... Digger Pescatore
Christian Clemenson ... Ritz Investor
J.D. Evermore ... Virgil Beauregard (as JD Evermore)
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Storyline

Boston, 1926. The '20s are roaring. Liquor is flowing, bullets are flying, and one man sets out to make his mark on the world. Prohibition has given rise to an endless network of underground distilleries, speakeasies, gangsters, and corrupt cops. Joe Coughlin, the youngest son of a prominent Boston police captain, 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. But life on the dark side carries a heavy price. In a time when ruthless men of ambition, armed with cash, illegal booze, and guns, battle for control, no one-neither family nor friend, enemy nor lover-can be trusted. Beyond money and power, even the threat of prison, one fate seems most likely for men like Joe: an early death. But until that day, he and his friends are determined to live life to the hilt. Joe embarks on a dizzying... Written by Anonymous

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

The American Dream has a price See more »


Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for strong violence, language throughout, and some sexuality/nudity | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Official Sites:

Official Faceboook | Official Site | See more »

Country:

USA

Language:

English | Spanish

Release Date:

13 January 2017 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Live by Night See more »

Filming Locations:

Boston, Massachusetts, USA See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$108,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$33,336, 25 December 2016

Gross USA:

$10,378,555

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$22,678,555
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Dolby Atmos

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

2.39 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Leonardo DiCaprio was considered for the lead role. He decided to produce the film instead. See more »

Goofs

The opening sequence includes a photo of a dead Civil War soldier with a bloody face. Ben Affleck's character fought in World War 1. See more »

Quotes

[first lines]
Joe Coughlin: [narrating] In 1917, I signed up to fight the Huns in France. Good men died all around me, and I saw no reason for it. The rules we lived by were lies. And they didn't apply to those who made them. I swore If I made it home, I would never follow orders again. I left a soldier, I came home an outlaw.
See more »

Connections

Referenced in Sean Bradley Reviews: Breathe (2017) See more »

Soundtracks

Arsonist's Lullaby
Written and performed by Hozier
Courtesy of Rubiworks and Island Records
See more »

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User Reviews

 
Unfulfilled promise
5 January 2017 | by gsygsySee all my reviews

Producer, director, writer and lead actor: Ben Affleck.

Let's look at those contributions one by one.

Producer. The film looks good. There's an expert team on both sides of the camera. But there's a problem with length. Also, it feels as though the adaptation from Dennis Lehane's novel has not sufficiently transformed what was on the page into cinematic story-telling.

Director. There are excellent action sequences, such as an exciting car-chase and a final shoot-out. As a director of actors Mr Affleck is strong: he elicits particularly striking work from Chris Messina, Elle Fanning, Remo Girone and Sienna Miller. Within scenes there's a reassuring sense of control of pace. But overall, there is a sense of the director being in thrall to the screenplay.

Writer. This is the weakest link. It feels in awe of its source material. I read that an entire strand of the book was removed for the purposes of the film, but this was not enough. The producer and/or the director needed to tell the writer to put it through another draft. Or put it in its current form on Netflix as a two-part drama.

Lead actor. A matter of taste, I guess. Mr Affleck's persona is always of a handsome man who knows he's handsome, and who is very pleased with himself about it. I find this insufferable in large doses. And there is a very large dose of it here. Mr Affleck's performances lack depth -- compare and contrast those of this amazing brother Casey. As far as I'm concerned, Mr B. Affleck is more a male model than an actor: in James Bond terms, he's a George Lazenby rather than a Daniel Craig. His best film performance is his self-parodying turn in 'SHAKESPEARE IN LOVE'. In LIVE BY NIGHT he is serviceable, nothing more. His director clearly couldn't get anything else out of him.

It's instructive to compare Ben Affleck to Clint Eastwood, who also has a limited -- maybe even more limited -- range as an actor. But Eastwood the director usually casts Eastwood the actor brilliantly. DIRTY HARRY, UNFORGIVEN,GRAN TORINO etc: who could be better? By contrast, there are many young actors who could have played the lead in LIVE BY NIGHT, and many writers who could have delivered a better screenplay, especially when guided by a strong producer and director. Time will tell whether Ben Affleck is as good in those last two departments as ARGO suggested he might be. The promise he showed in those areas in that film is not in evidence here.


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