Live by Night

February 7, 2017
Custom User Avatar
More by this author

The movie based on the book ‘Live by Night’ is an Action/Thriller movie set around the 1920s in the Prohibition era. In this time, men of ambition which are armed with cash and guns battle for territorial gain among the states of America. These men all work for the two main gang families at the time; the Italian mob and the Irish mob. Joe Coughlin is the main character whose previous acts leave him no choice but to choose sides on the dangerous streets of gang-filled Boston. He is sent to Florida to expand the territory and reinstate the market of illegal booze and liquor. Whoever stands against the mob will be gunned down without hesitation. ‘Live by Night’ perfectly portrays the brutality and perfect ingenius of the Italian and Irish mob throughout the Prohibition era in the United States.

During the Prohibition era, the United States declared that the sale and manufacture of Alcohol was illegal. This was set into place as they were said to be “intoxicating liquors” and “any drinkable containing more than half of 1 percent alcohol being forbidden” The Guardian). This act of so called ‘Justice’ bred a new era of gangsters and illegal trafficking. Each state individually banned all liquors and the price dramatically increased therefore creating a greater source of money and opportunities for the free men. Through this era, many famous gangsters arose in the local towns, one of which would be known as “the public enemy number #1” Al Capone. Him and others picked up on the illegal booze production and then starting distributing it throughout all of the states making millions, almost billions per year. Each state once dry of booze and liquor became run by mob gangsters who illegally sold extreme amounts of this alcohol.

In Live by Night, the Mob and its leaders are portrayed by two gangs; the Italian mob and the Irish mob. These two gangs rule Boston’s streets in the early 20s, where our main character is found involving himself in the gang-type business but hasn’t joined a gang. This is important for its historical accuracy because it shows how gangs dominated cities throughout the 20s. His father, a police officer, saves Joe Coughlin after he commits some violent crimes and bribes the judge to give him a lighter sentence. Bribery was a very real thing in the Prohibition era because it helped gangs and normal citizens alike to get things done. It forces the main character Joe, like most of men of his time, to join the Mob and work for them; the offer unrejectable. He then goes to Florida, which results in him clashing with the KKK and other forces that hinder his ability to lead his gang. These ‘forces’ were very real in the fact that they would usually clash with gangs and law enforcements alike.  Later in the movie a bloodbath erupts and everyone but Joe and his gang dies in the bulletstorm, finally killing off one rival gang. This scene in particular shows how deadly these gangs could be and how the struggle for power ruled the USA.

Although some may say that these gang flicks are just created to fit the big motion picture standard. I certainly agree with this statement because it is a triple A title with multiple highly acclaimed actors. This obviously means that this movie will have to fit a certain standard. However, I think that this movie does perfectly portray the Mob society in the US around the 1920s, still including the gruesome deaths and the perfect ingenius of the mob leaders. This is my personal opinion and it may seem biased; however, others do not share my opinion. The movie ‘Live by Night’ has gotten some very critical reviews, some of which show that the movie may be the worst in portraying the gangster world and one of America’s darkest eras. Each review giving their own take on what was an ‘empty’ movie with little to no plot and a confusing structure. These reviews, personally, elaborate what certain standards create for a big motion pictures; the bar is set high for a triple a movie like ‘Live by Night’. Even though some may say that this plot idea of the Mob society is way too bland and boring for the big screen, I disagree but my standpoint is biased. Indeed, however, the facts stated in my essay furthermore prove that ‘Live by Night’ perfectly displayed the mob and their brutality throughout the Prohibition Era.

‘Live by Night’ is a movie set around the 1920s, the Prohibition Era, where gang life and illegal trafficking ruled the states of America. Ben Affleck perfectly directs the life of Joe Coughlin who strive for revenge after a number of tragic events. The mob portrayed in the Movie rule most of the cities of Boston and Florida whose individual leaders traffic illegal alcohol to different countries after it alcoholic beverages were banned. The movie perfectly shows how the Italian and Irish mob dominated whomever would stand in front of them and inflicted fear by killing, torturing and kidnapping the innocent people.

Join the Discussion

This article has 1 comment. Post your own now! said...
Feb. 13 at 2:04 am
you know i lived in 1920 #relatable
Site Feedback