Live by Night
I stopped kissing rings a long time ago
Village Jam Factory - Thursday 26 January 2017, 1:00pm
Running time: 129m
Country: United States
Classification: MA15+ (Strong coarse language)
Release date: 26/01/17
Rating: 5.5/10 (ME 3/5, DP 2.5/5)
World War 1 veteran and gangster Joe (Ben Affleck) has plans of running away to California with his 'gal' Emma (Sienna Miller). But a bungled robbery and a stint in prison... oh, and Emma's death... puts a spanner in the works. Trading allegiances from Irish mob bos Albert (Robert Glenister) to Italian mob boss Maso Pescatore (Remo Girone) requires a move to Florida to ensure the supply of liquor during prohibition.
Live by Night is an crime drama from director Ben Affleck. The performances are ok (Zoe Saldana and Brendan Gleeson provide the necessary human element to a story of unlikeable characters) but there's a lot going on here with twists and turns (and then even more twists and turns) adding to the scale (and messiness) of the story. At times it feels like it's channeling The Godfather (with less pasta and more racial slurs) but throw in the KKK, a mob war, a interracial love scandal, a car chase, some flapper dresses, Christian conservatism, an alligator (just to remind us we're in Florida) and it becomes hard to keep track of who's double crossing who and why I should care. It's grizzly and violent (the body count was well into double figures after only a couple of centimeters of popcorn) and not for the squeamish. Unfortunately the ending comes much later than it could've (no spoilers here) and loses its rhythm as it ties up all the loose ends. The production design is good and the stiffness of the performances add to the sombre tone. Not the best example of the genre but worth a look.