A gangster from Boston (Ben Affleck) ventures down to Tampa during the prohibition era. While trying to corner the rum market, he crosses paths with klu klux klan, and stiff competition.
Live by Night isn’t Affleck’s best work behind the camera. Compared to work like The Town and Argo this is definitely lesser. That’s saying something because this film is pretty enjoyable. He directs the action very well. There are a few gunfights and car chases that Affleck keeps you on the edge of your seat for. As for his performance, it’s fine really. He fits into this 1920’s world quite well. You believe him as this gangster, that will do whatever it takes to get ahead in this prohibition time. His character of Joe Coughlin is comparable to Frank Underwood in House of Cards. Just in the fact that they are cunning, and hungry for power.
As for the rest of the performances, they are serviceable. Zoe Saldana as Coughlin’s love interest was a good match. They have great chemistry. I wouldn’t have thought Saldana and Affleck would’ve meshed, but to my surprise they really do. Elle Fanning plays Loretta Figgs, she delivers sermons, about the horrors of addiction. She’s great in her limited role. Chris Cooper plays the sheriff and he also fits right into this world.
With beautifully shot landscapes, oceanic sequences, and visceral action, Ben Affleck delivers a solid effort here. His performance is solid, and he gets the best out of his actors. The film drags at points, but Affleck brings you back in with gorgeous shots. Live By Night is worth seeing.