Tag Archives: Lehane

Live by Night

14 Jan

Affleck Should Have Stuck To Directing For His Latest Boston-Based Film ‘Live By Night’

Ben Affleck, as Joe Coughlin, and Sienna Miller, as Emma Gould, in "Live By Night." (Courtesy Warner Bros. Pictures)

Ben Affleck, the good-looking, locally-reared actor, who from time to time has projected a wooden on-screen presence, has turned out to be a reliably decent director. His debut, “Gone Baby Gone” back in 2007, transformed Dennis Lehane’s Boston-seated crime novel into a cinematic pulp noir. That edgy effort had cinephiles anxious for more and Affleck rewarded their patience with another gritty crime drama, “The Town,” in 2010 and then “Argo” in 2012. His latest effort, “Live By Night,” brings another Lehane crime story to the screen.

It begins during the Prohibition Era in Boston, where the Irish and Italians are locked in a blood feud over the bootleg trade, and later transitions to Ybor City, the developing section of Tampa, Florida, where Italian and Latino crime coalitions govern the town and control the flow of molasses — critical for rum.

Brendan Gleeson as Officer Thomas Coughlin in "Live By Night." (Courtesy Warner Bros. Pictures)
Brendan Gleeson as Officer Thomas Coughlin in “Live By Night.” (Courtesy Warner Bros. Pictures) Continue reading

The Drop

12 Sep

First we lost Pierce and Garnett to Brooklyn and now we’ve lost the setting for “The Drop” to that city as well. Revered Boston crime novelist Dennis Lehane’s screenplay for “The Drop” (his first endeavor as a cinematic scribe) was based on “Animal Rescue,” a short story he wrote ten years ago and set in Boston. For “The Drop,” which opens today, he transposed the locale to Brooklyn, purportedly because the author wanted to stretch his wings and try out some new turf. In addition, Lehane just turned “The Drop’s” screenplay into a similarly titled novel.

So, just to make sure that we’re all on the same page, it’s a book, based on a screenplay, based on a short story. Got it?

Lehane himself, on the heels of the successful screen adaptations of his crime novels, “Mystic River,” “Gone Baby Gone” and “Shutter Island,” has departed Boston for L.A. to be closer to the biz. It’s an understandable move, but not free of the ironic shadows of “Beat L.A.”(which Pierce and Garnett did) and the same migratory path of ignominious Boston crime boss, Whitey Bulger.

James Gandolfini as "Cousin Marv" in "The Drop" (Courtesy, Fox Searchlight)

Brooklyn, as “The Drop” has it, is a dark, dingy place where hard-working people and shady mobsters intersect with plenty of crossover. One such middler is the affable, yet gruff Marv (played by the late James Gandolfini), who runs a bar, tagged Cousin Marv’s. Marv used to own the bar, but the Chechen mob took over to create a cash drop. A quick montage depicts illicit greenbacks on the move, slipping through a secret slot in the bar top during business hours and later, after closing, then getting sealed into a Trojan keg of sorts and shipped off to be laundered—or something like that.    Continue reading