Live By Night is a remake of the original made in 1948, which is a fresh and more modern looking film set in the 1920s Prohibition America.
Ben Affleck not only plays lead good man gone bad Joe Coughlin, but also directs this film to much acclaim.
Quite unrecognisable due to the 1920s makeup you have Sienna Miller who plays gangster moll Emma Mould. She gets caught-up with Joe, but is also the ‘girl’ of main gangster Albert White (Robert Glenister) among the hoodlums in the city.
Joe gets a certain amount of leeway by his police Captain father Thomas (Brendan Gleeson), who is at his wits-end to fathom the path his son is choosing. The father to son piece of advice of either ending-up in prison or dead hangs in the air of the film, which leaves you wondering how things are going to end.
Joe gets out of prison faster than most and heads to the main Italian mobster Maso Pescatore (Remo Girone) to cook-up some deal in order to get back at Albert White.
Doing deals with the devil is something you have to do especially in the gangster and criminal world. But retribution is what goes with the territory in this world of guns, women and lots of illicit cash.
Going south to the warmer climate of Florida refreshes the scenery and Joe teams up with his sidekick and loyal business associate Dion Bartolo (Chris Messina), to build-up the alcohol trade with the intention of cutting-out arch enemy Albert White in a criminal ‘legal’ way.
With the idea of love interest Emma of both Joe and Albert that has exasperated the hatred further between both men presumed dead; Joe forms a new relationship with Graciela Corrales (Zoe Saldana) the sister of local Cuban businessman Esteban Suarez (Miguel Pimentel), which reveals something of great interest and bewilderment to Joe.
Another piece of advice comes from Albert White earlier that finishes the film in a sad but unsurprising way, due to the environment of the criminal underworld that has led men to their graves.
The film never has a boring moment as you concentrate on the story and where the pieces fit and where the next move comes from, though you can get these next steps wrong, which adds to the entertainment factor.
“Prohibitioncreated the 1920s gangster and criminal underworld”