Live by Night

Critics Consensus

Live by Night boasts visual style and an impressive cast, but they're lost in a would-be crime saga that finds producer, director, and star Ben Affleck revisiting familiar themes to diminishing effect.

34%

TOMATOMETER

Total Count: 238

41%

Audience Score

User Ratings: 13,344

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Movie Info

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 moll.

Cast & Crew

Ben Affleck
Joe Coughlin
Chris Messina
Dion Bartolo
Elle Fanning
Loretta Figgis
Matt Maher
RD Pruitt
Brendan Gleeson
Thomas Coughlin
Chris Cooper
Chief Figgis
Ben Affleck
Screenwriter
Chris Brigham
Executive Producer
Dennis Lehane
Executive Producer
Chay Carter
Executive Producer
Robert Richardson
Cinematographer
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News & Interviews for Live By Night

Critic Reviews for Live By Night

All Critics (238) | Top Critics (62) | Fresh (82) | Rotten (156)

  • It's more concerned with flattering our modern sensibility than truly plunging us into the mores of the 1920s.

    April 6, 2020 | Full Review…
  • It's not Goodfellas. It lacks the black humour and the relish for eccentricity for its own sake, and the ending verges on mawkishness. But it's great entertainment -- a cunningly wrought tribute to old-fashioned Hollywood and the Warners style.

    January 27, 2017 | Rating: 3/5 | Full Review…
  • Live By Night is a confusing jumble. But above all, it commits the cardinal sin of gangster movies: It's really, really boring.

    January 25, 2017 | Rating: 2/5 | Full Review…
  • Individual sequences are also compellingly handled and, as Affleck has demonstrated in his previous films as director... he's an accomplished storyteller.Yet the film doesn't entirely hang together.

    January 20, 2017 | Rating: 3.5/5 | Full Review…
  • You probably won't turn it off when it comes on cable. But the material needs to be bigger, more momentous, as well as more intimate.

    January 17, 2017 | Full Review…
  • One of the film's final set pieces is so wonderfully staged that it reminds you what skill Affleck has with the camera. Next time, he should perhaps confine himself behind it.

    January 16, 2017 | Full Review…

Audience Reviews for Live By Night

  • Jun 26, 2018
    Though it doesn't exactly die on-screen, Ben Affleck's stylish but stale latest presents a Gangsta's Paradise that recycles characters and situations seen time and time again in better 1930s-set mob classics. In this R-rated crime thriller, a group of Boston-bred gangsters (Affleck, Chris Messina, et al) set up shop in balmy Florida during the Prohibition era, facing off against the competition and the Ku Klux Klan. After turning out back-to-back hit A-Grade dramas The Town and Argo, writer-director Affleck had his pick of H'Wood projects, including taking a go at Justice League. Instead of teaming Batman up with other DC heroes, he chooses a different Dark Night, one exuding flourish but ultimately mired in clichés. He should have stuck with the Caped Crusader--not just because Live By Night lacks a unique oomph, but because his singular talents could have definitely improved upon Zach Snyder's less-than-stellar Justice League. Teaming up again with South Boston-born novelist Dennis Lehane (their first collaboration, the excellent kidnapping puzzler Gone Baby Gone, marked the auspicious start of a truly gifted filmmaker), Boston-bred Affleck sees an ambitious chance to leave a mark on the gangster genre, award-winning bestselling book in-hand. What results, however fresh the source material, somehow feels like a long slow walk in Alligator shoes. Punctuated by moments of visual spark (the climactic set piece, a bloody affair set entirely inside an oceanfront Miami hotel, is an exciting symphony even though you already know it note-for-note) and inspired casting, the adaptation hardboils down Lehane's more complicated story into something more pedestrian and bland. Affleck leads a capable cast that stands and delivers, among them Messina, Chris Cooper, Zoe Saldana, Sienna Miller, Scott Eastwood, and Brendan Gleeson, with Elle Fanning being the standout. They all seem to be having a great time playing Gatsby with Guns (having a slightly better time than the audience, at least), but no one here is walking away with an award. More boorish than noirish, their playing field is an all-too-familiar turf that looks grand (cinematographer Robert Richardson deserves special mention) but is ultimately more of a trope-ical than tropical paradise. To Sum It All Up: Bored-Walk Empire
    Jeff B Super Reviewer
  • Sep 22, 2017
    https://cinephilecrocodile.blogspot.co.uk/2017/09/live-by-night-dir-ben-affleck-2016-i.html
    Anthony L Super Reviewer
  • Apr 21, 2017
    Other than the costumes, this flick's a nightmare.
    Christian C Super Reviewer
  • Feb 25, 2017
    LOL!!! I love hate-watching some Ben Affleck!
    Stevie S Super Reviewer

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