Live By Night – The Movie


This is a mafia movie about a prodigal son of a police chief and his descent into crime. Revenge takes him deeper and traps him into loyal servitude of which he inevitably breaks free by murderous plot. I believe the idea is that viewers are supposed to feel a sense of good about his character because he willingly gives up his life of crime (but only) after a major victory. His father also predicted he would reap what he had sown in ways not known, which proved to be true.  The movie features Ben Affleck in proximity to Chris Cooper, Sienna Miler, Elle Fanning, & Zoe Saldana. After I watched the movie, I couldn’t help but to ponder on how violent the film was. The visualized sex scenes with Sienna Miler, Zoe Saldana and Ben Affleck also made me feel a small sense of sorrow considering his recent divorce. I can’t imagine what it would feel like as a married actor/actress couple for over a decade to go through such a split-up. Like most of you, I only know the couple from the movies they play and media coverage but admit to special interest since Jennifer Garnier has made public claims to be a Christian. God is never star stuck and Jesus has no superstars.

While I’m certain neither one of them care for an ounce of pity by onlookers…and yet, I couldn’t help to think that the work of our hands cannot possibly be unscathed by the truths in our hearts. Ben Affleck was both the director and screenwriter of the film which is reported to be an adaption taken from a novel by Dennis Lehane. While quick, much of the violence was exceptionally gruesome. Both love making scenes felt like betrayal and were very intimate in appearance (although we all know there’s an entire camera crew filming). Then, there is this dialogue regarding thoughts about God and heaven, sin and repentance that leave viewers literally hopeless. Even the good boys are bad. The main character, Joe Coughlin (played by Ben Affleck) portrays the ultimate actor, a mafia killer as the good guy who does not kill the Christian girl despite her successful efforts to shut him down. The girl’s father (also a Christian), Chief Figgis acted by Chris Cooper, seems to render a similar like character of a nice guy who allows criminal activity if he can avoid conflict, who finally also commits murder. Both characters fall short of either likable or entirely deplorable and the Christian underlying indications leaves a very bad taste in your mouth. The film portrays such ghastly violence, intimate betrayal, death and thoughts about God as the definitive oxymoron that leaves just a tiny little piece of my heart in mourning for Jennifer Garner.

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