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Monday, November 14, 2016

Live By Night (2016)

Set in the 1920s and 30s, a WWI veteran (Ben Affleck, who also directed) doesn't consider himself a gangster even though he works for a mobster (Robert Glenister). But an affair with the mobster's moll (Sienna Miller) brings repercussions that pull him into the gangster life full time. Based on the novel by Dennis Lehane (also the source material for Affleck's GONE BABY GONE), this is Affleck's 4th feature film and batting 4 out of 4 so far. Which is not to say the film is flawless, anything but. The film is a homage to the Warner gangster films of the 30s and 40s. While violent, the violence is fairly muted, no Tarantino bloodbath here. As an actor, Affleck is uninteresting so I wish he had cast another actor in the pivotal leading role. The film looks fantastic with great cinematography by Robert Richardson (NATURAL BORN KILLERS), production design by Jess Gonchor and costumes by Jacqueline West. With the exception of Chris Messina and Matthew Maher whose performances are overcooked ... to put it mildly, the rest of the cast is very good especially Elle Fanning who gives what may be my favorite supporting actress performance this year. With Zoe Saldana, Brendan Gleeson, Chris Cooper, Anthony Michael Hall and Max Casella. 

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