Following the academy award success of “Argo” Ben Affleck steps back into the directors chair for a 6th time. He brings his passion for Boston but decided to branch out and also venture further south to Florida for a gangster period piece set during prohibition. So let’s dive in and take a look at “Live By Night” in this box office review…
The overall tone of the film was bleak. It deals with some nefarious characters who are both on the right and wrong sides of the law. There’s not much redemption for any of the characters as they are all in conquest for power and influence. The main character appears to be made to suffer loss but I found myself struggling to sympathize because of the lifestyle he threw himself into. There’s a brief moment where the story leads us to believe he’s victimized in his welcoming into this world of crime but it’s crime that initially brings attention to his abilities by people much more dangerous than he who “recruit” him.
The dialogue of this film was, arguably, accurate to how I imagine gangsters would talk during prohibition. That being said, it’s incredibly racist. Across the board, this film puts on display the rampant racism of prohibition America. It’s not just racist against black people. It’s everyone. If you weren’t English white, there was a racial slur in this film for you. The delivery of these lines was split between characters who viewed it as matter of fact and other who’s tone was intentionally demeaning and ignorant.
“Live By Night” is probably still in one or two theaters. If you like period piece films and aren’t offended by historical racism then you might enjoy this film. If racism on any level offends you I recommend you not even bother because you’ll be offended. The look of the film, the actors and the action scenes were all done well but it’s a dark movie. I was, by text message, asked by a black friend of mine what I thought, and knowing her, I recommended she skip it. She’s a movie lover too but sometimes themes in film can prove too much for some folks and that’s to be expected.