live by night (1)

Film Review: Live By Night

Ben Affleck returns to Dennis Lehane’s work with this adaptation of Live By Night, a gangster epic which follows the rise to power of Joe Coughlin, a young Boston criminal who ends up running an empire in Florida for the Italian mob.
As an addition to the gangster genre, Live By Night certainly has a uniqueness to it. The Florida setting adds a notable style to the film which also boasts some sumptuous scenery, excellent design, authentic costumes and vibrant music.
Unfortunately, this is by far Affleck’s weakest effort as a director. Hastily cut and edited, too much of the film feels glossed over and rushed with characters and their relationships underdeveloped and the events of the story conceived out of sheer convenience.
It’s frustratingly poor storytelling, especially when considering the strength and quality of the source material. Ultimately, Live By Night feels like a self-indulgent piece for Affleck. Whilst it looks fantastic and contains some excellent performances and action sequences, it is severely lacking in impact and finesse for a drama.

3/5 John Morgan-Clarke

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