• Todd Puhl

Movie Review: Live by Night

Updated: May 28, 2019


The film that caused Batfleck to step down as director of the upcoming Batman installment. It also made Affleck possibly not reprise his role of the Bat after all the heat he took. I understand where is coming from to be honest. He has been hailed as a brilliant filmmaker to have all that work overshadowed by continuously being pestered about the upcoming Batman flick. Also, he did take a beating for the BvsS film. So I totally understand why he is sour about it. But whether or not he is the Bat, the film took a nose dive off of the Green Monster.


“It's the Roaring `20s and Prohibition hasn't stopped the flow of booze in an underground network of gangster-run speakeasies. The opportunity to gain power and money is there for any man with enough ambition and nerve, and Joe Coughlin, the son of the Boston Police superintendent, long ago turned his back on his strict upbringing for the spoils of being an outlaw. But even among criminals there are rules, and Joe breaks a big one: crossing a powerful mob boss by stealing his money and his doll.”

A film that cost 65 million to make but only get 21.7 million is a dent in the pocketbook. I am not overly concerned if Affleck’s magic is gone, I feel that the amount of looming questions and stress from taking on the Batman role may has distracted his creative genius. Affleck plays Joe Coughlin. A WW1 vet who returns from Europe trying carve his own piece if the American dream. Which is being a thieve and a robber. Over time he attracts local mob bosses attention. And from there Coughlin becomes a player in the prohibition game.


Along the way you are introduced to multiple characters with brilliant performances Sienna Miller, Zoe Saldana, Chris Cooper and others that continue to add on to this growing journey of Coughlin becoming a “made” man. However, the film falls flat because it is way too long. Sporting a 2+ hour run time, it felt a lot of the narrative was stretched out a lot more than it should have been. I think there was a few scenes that could have been easily left on the cutting room floor.

Most mob movies have the same equation. Nobody wants to be Somebody. Mob boss takes him in. Nobody becomes Somebody. Mob boss realizing that Somebody is now a threat. Mob Boss tries to kill Somebody. Somebody wipes out mob family. At least when Departed followed this narrative, nobody lived and everything was unpredictable.

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