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Live by Night (2016)

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A group of Boston-bred gangsters set up shop in balmy Florida during the Prohibition era, facing off against the competition and the Ku Klux Klan.

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(screenplay by), (based on the novel by)
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487 ( 75)
2 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
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Maso Pescatore
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Albert White
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RD Pruitt
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Esteban Suarez (as Miguel J. Pimentel)
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Tim Hickey
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Digger Pescatore
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Ritz Investor
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Virgil Beauregard (as JD Evermore)
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Storyline

Boston, 1926. The '20s are roaring. Liquor is flowing, bullets are flying, and one man sets out to make his mark on the world. Prohibition has given rise to an endless network of underground distilleries, speakeasies, gangsters, and corrupt cops. Joe Coughlin, the youngest son of a prominent Boston police captain, has long since turned his back on his strict and proper upbringing. Now having graduated from a childhood of petty theft to a career in the pay of the city's most fearsome mobsters, Joe enjoys the spoils, thrills, and notoriety of being an outlaw. But life on the dark side carries a heavy price. In a time when ruthless men of ambition, armed with cash, illegal booze, and guns, battle for control, no one-neither family nor friend, enemy nor lover-can be trusted. Beyond money and power, even the threat of prison, one fate seems most likely for men like Joe: an early death. But until that day, he and his friends are determined to live life to the hilt. Joe embarks on a dizzying... Written by Anonymous

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

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Witness the price of the American Dream. See more »


Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for strong violence, language throughout, and some sexuality/nudity | See all certifications »

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Details

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Release Date:

13 January 2017 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Vivir de Noche  »

Filming Locations:

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Box Office

Budget:

$108,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend:

$74,618 (USA) (29 December 2016)

Gross:

$10,377,558 (USA) (3 March 2017)
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Company Credits

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2.35 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Adam Driver and Jon Bernthal were considered for roles in the film. See more »

Goofs

In an early scene, someone sings "sugar in the morning." The song "Sugartime" was published in 1958. See more »

Quotes

[from trailer]
Joe Coughlin: This is heaven. Right here. We're in it now.
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Connections

Referenced in Sean Bradley Reviews: Breathe (2017) See more »

Soundtracks

Mi Guajira Tiene Montuno
Written by Jesus 'El Nino' Alejandro (as Jesus A. Perez-Alvarez)
Performed by Ariel Betancourt
Courtesy of LMS Records
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User Reviews

The gangster conventions are there, just not the passion.
11 January 2017 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

"Maybe it's true. We all find ourselves in lives we didn't expect. But what I learned was powerful men don't have to be cruel."Joe Coughlin (Ben Affleck)

Yet in the best of gangster, powerful men like Michael Corleone and Henry Hill are cruel, no matter how gentle their exteriors. So it seems with Joe Coughlin, a prohibition "bandit," as he calls himself, who doesn't think of himself as a gangster ("I don't wanna be a gangster. Stopped kissing rings a long time ago."). Yet he kills or has others killed in the name of moving toward heaven.

Although beautifully appointed and set in Florida and Cuba, writer/director Affleck's crime story misses the weight of crime films, which casually juxtapose the serious with the not so. It lacks the sass of Pulp Fiction and the gravitas of The Godfather with not much of their verbal gymnastics or irony.

Joe wanting to be a saint while being a sinner requires an actor of considerable resources, which Affleck showed a modicum of recently in the Accountant because it required him to be affectless. He brings that same stolid mien to this film and endangers the edge necessary for the success of actors like Al Pacino. Like Affleck, the film is listless except when Tommy Guns take charge.

As Joe navigates from a low-rent lover, Emma (Sienna Miller), to a classy love, Graciella (Zoe Saldana), director Affleck spends too much time on their embraces and too little on what makes him love them so passionately. He does love his own image as his abundance of self close-ups testifies. Maybe there is no passion, just old affectless Affleck.

It's dumping time in Hollywood, and Live by the Night is a classic example of why smart studios dump dull movies in January. It's not all that bad the way Joe is not all that bad. However, it just doesn't have the firepower to go against the big guns in the Oscar race. Remember the wild surprises and rich characters of the long-form Sopranos?

Maybe that's why the film gangster genre feels troubled here: The arch enemy, TV!


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