“Live By Night”

A look at the Movies

Rated R

2 hours 5 minutes

Ben Affleck, Brendan Gleeson, Chris Messina, Elle Fanning, Sienna Miller

CHICOPEE, Mass. (WWLP) – It’s unfair to moviegoers when stars write their own script making themselves look good with their survival skills..

Ben Affleck’s created a benevolent gangster character in “Live By Night”

You can only describe the thug as a compassionate killer. This self-styled “Outlaw” apparently has to be coaxed into a life of crime. Affleck embraces the gangster lifestyle. “Live By Night” chronicles his underworld exploits beginning after World War One and continuing during the next 20 years in typical epic gangland fashion.

You’ll find some of the characters hard to take, especially Elle Fanning as an emotionally damaged, drug addicted Southern Evangelist. She stands in the way of Affleck’s plans for a Tampa, Florida, gambling casino. As an inducement for her support, he promises to build churches with the profits. What a guy!

Between the scenes of sudden death and gangland intrigue, Affleck tones down the violence and alters the mood with placid moments of incredible beauty. But make no mistake, “Live By Night” is filled with callous characters who do business without the slightest consideration for human feelings or human life.

Such is the life of a gangland kingpin who got his start in the extremely mean streets of Boston. He avoided disaster by having orchestrated the action as screenwriter and director. “Live By Night” takes on a life of its own as a brooding crime thriller that manages to muscle its way into 3 stars.

And when whenever Affleck’s  outlaw character is in jeopardy, he merely re-writes the script and makes it through yet another scene.