It is a very rare thing in my experience when one person both directs and writes the screenplay for a movie. For the movie “Live By Night” Ben Affleck, wrote the screenplay, has the starring role, directed this movie and also had a producer credit as well. This must have been a ton of work, for probably years and the end result is a very solid gangster movie much like the gangster movies made in the 40’s about running molasses and selling bootleg liquor during Prohibition. I cannot remember the last time I have seen a period movie about the early 20’s and the Prohibition era like this one. There is a good deal of violence in this movie, which is understandable considering the crime and corruption during this time and you have to realize while watching this movie that the passing of Prohibition could have been one of the worst mistakes ever made in Congress, recognizing how badly that decision backfired over so many years. One can only speculate how many gangs were created, crimes committed and people who were killed as a direct result of Prohibition.
As I have recently said about the World War Two movie that came out about a month ago “Allied”, I am always impressed with movies that use many cars from other eras that for decades have been maintained in warehouses around the world, which you have to figure have to be paid for by the largest movie production companies just in case they make a period movie about the 20’s, 30’s, 40’s or 50’s. This must cost a fortune and it must be challenging to get these very old cars to run after so many years. On top of this, several vintage cars from the 20’s were destroyed in this movie.
As far as the story behind this movie, I thought it was well told and flowed well, so there were not too many areas that dragged or were boring. One flaw I thought was with the accents of the people involved and in some cases the slurring of words, very often you could not understand what people were saying. At certain points, the story was a little hard to follow, mainly because of the word slurring, but overall the story corrected itself along the way and everything made sense. Other stars in this movie include Elle Fanning, Sienna Miller, Zoe Saldana and Chris Cooper and I thought that the acting was very well done throughout.
The fundamental message I got from this movie and especially the ending was that if you are a person who has no trouble killing people over a long period of time, then it is inevitable that your day is coming. What goes around comes around.
I thought Live By Night was a solid Gangster movie about the Prohibition era and I do recommend it.