The film's story was basically split into four acts: one involving a gang war, one involving the KKK, one involving religious opposition, and another that I will not spoil. The film started out really strong. The characters were well-developed and the story was interesting. When the KKK element was introduced, the story began to feel really goofy. Then, the religious opposition part felt very heavy-handed. Luckily, the film redeemed itself with a final act that was neither predictable nor unsatisfying, before an epilogue that was a bit cheesy. The dialogue had some moments that felt fake, like one time when a character said "It will be legit successful," however, the film always managed to stay enjoyable and well-paced.
The film has a lot of strengths in its visual aspects. The cinematography and production design are really good. They both contribute to a strong and effective sense of periodization to the film. The acting of the film is also very good. Affleck does well in his role, commanding the screen, and Saldana, Cooper, Gleeson, and Fanning all support him well.
Overall, I don't think that "Live by Night" was as bad as is said. In fact, it's actually pretty well-made in a technical way. Its weaknesses are in its writing, which is uneven and poorly thought-out.
Live By Night
Big Tuna's Rating: B
How Did I Watch It?: In theaters.
Had I Seen It Before?: No.
Would I Watch It Again?: Yes.