Neither Ben Affleck nor Zoe Saldana or Sienna Miller will manage to save Live by Night, a sloppy and confusing film. Acting as director and screenwriter of this adaptation of Dennis Lehane's novel, Ben Affleck has also reserved the lead role, an understandable choice because his character Joe Coughlin is a very nice gangster at bottom.
Joe Coughlin returns from the First World War in his city of Boston and jumps into crime. We are during Prohibition although his father (Brendan Gleeson) is a policeman. Passionately enthusiastic about his girlfriend (Sienna Miller) of the chief (Robert Glenister), Irish criminals of the city, our man knows that this love story cannot finish badly.
This is actually what happens, then pushing Joe to sell his services to the chief (Remo Girone) of the Mafia. Here he is responsible for ensuring the transit of alcohol, particularly Cuban rum to Tampa. And there he meets Graziella (Zoe Saldana), with whom he couples.
Wishing to satisfy all audiences and, in fact, not making anyone happy, Ben Affleck treats this gangster story as a modern movie, adding a chase of cars with Ford T, which is laughable despite the creative efforts, shootings, fights, romanticism and good feelings.
The filmmaker who was expected since 2012 to reiterate the quality of Argo, also includes some social awkwardness about integrating the KKK with Anthony Michael Hall as unrecognizable organizing Knight, a former heroin addict (Elle Fanning), who saw God and embarked on a crusade against the casino built by Joe, as well as a Cuban (Zoe Saldana) with a big heart, whose project is to build a house for women and abused children.
If the costumes and decorations are cared for, the statement is more blurry, as if Ben Affleck did not know very well how to play on the contradictions of his character. Joe, a brutal killer, is portrayed as a kind of victim of the barbarism living in the trenches and every shot, every dialogue, every action of the gangster is filmed only in the light of this filter.
The filmmaker, actor and screenwriter dwells more than justly on his good actions and principles. It's not easy, in this context, to adhere to this confused proposal that definitely resembles a pub info touting the physical and moral merits of Ben Affleck!