Ben Affleck’s resurgence in Hollywood in the form of a director is no mystery. If his next role as a certain superhero called Batman goes well, then maybe Affleck the actor would be loved again. But we aren’t fretting about that, because Ben Affleck the director is darn brilliant, and he is going strong. Affleck has begun work on his next directorial movie which is a big screen adaptation of novelist Dennis Lehane’s Prohibition-era crime novel Live By Night. The premise of the book is truly interesting, and it’s quite easy to see how Affleck’s astuteness behind the camera can bring a richness to the narrative. But before I talk a bit more about Live By Night, it is the name of Dennis Lehane that has gotten my attention.
Dennis Lehane, an American author, is no small figure even in the world of Hollywood. His past works have attracted the attention of many top-notch directors, and Ben Affleck is in fact adapting a Dennis Lehane novel for the second time. Can you name all the books of Lehane that have been adapted onto the big screen? Most of them are worth remembering.
Mystic River (2003)
The name Mystic River cannot be unfamiliar to anyone who has pledged his or her life to watching great movies. The film was directed by Clint Eastwood and brought out one of the greatest performances by Sean Penn ever seen on screen. Penn won the Oscar, and so did Tim Robbins in a supporting role, while the movie was nominated in Best Picture category. The movie is based on the 2001 novel by Dennis Lehane which narrates a chilling story about three childhood friends who are reunited when a tragedy strikes one of them. The story is quite intense, with a haunting touch that is difficult to forget. It’s a splendid piece of work by Clint Eastwood driven by Lehane’s story.
Gone Baby Gone (2007)
The neo-noir mystery film Gone Baby Gone will forever be famous for being Ben Affleck’s directorial debut. It is based on Dennis Lehane’s 1998 novel which is actually the fourth of a series with recurring characters, Boston private investigators Patrick Kenzie and Angela Gennaro, played by Casey Affleck and Michelle Monaghan in the movie. The movie’s premise revolves around the investigation of a missing child in Boston. But it ain’t an old-fashioned detective story, and instead can send shivers down your spine as the plot gets scarier with each step. The movie won great critical acclaim and marked the beginning of Ben Affleck’s new career.
Shutter Island (2010)
Dennis Lehane’s 2003 novel, about a U.S Marshal investigating the disappearance of a murderess who escaped from a hospital for the criminally insane, got a movie adaptation seven years later. It could not have come with a more striking name attached to it than Martin Scorsese. The acclaimed director must have had a hand in getting one of his favourite actors, Leonardo DiCaprio, to play the lead role. Alongside them stood the ever reliable Mark Ruffalo, and thus came to life Lehane’s novel Shutter Island. The movie had a darkness to it which embroiled mystery along with spookiness that should now be seen as a Dennis Lehane trademark. The movie was a big box-office success, as if it could have been anything else!
The Drop (2014)
With the movie The Drop, Dennis Lehane marked his debut as a movie screenplay writer. The movie’s premise was based on a short story titled Animal Rescue written by Lehane in 2009. While adapting the screenplay for the movie, Dennis Lehane also converted it into a novel of the same name which released in 2014. It’s a crime drama centering around Bob Saginowski who finds himself involved in a robbery gone awry and entwined in an investigation that digs deep into the neighborhood’s past. The Drop later became more known for being the last movie starring the late James Gandolfini.
Live By Night (2017)
Dennis Lehane’s 2012 novel has been linked with Ben Affleck for quite a while. But only now has production work begun with Ben Affleck sharing the first shot of the movie, which is shown above. Live by Night is also a crime novel based in Boston of 1926 and narrates the story of a police officer’s son who has embarked on a journey up the ladder of organized crime. The movie stars Ben Affleck in the lead role along with Sienna Miller, Chris Cooper, Zoe Saldana, Chris Messina, and Elle Fanning. The story is likely to have many layers to it, and would require a skilled director who can capture the dark intrigue of the movie perfectly. Ah well, Ben Affleck is the man for the job, who after Gone Baby Gone, The Town and Argo, has proven his strengths behind the camera. The movie has a December 2017 release date as of now, chosen possibly to make it an Oscar contender. A long way to go for this release, but an exciting wait it would be. Here’s an extended plot synopsis of Live By Night to capture your attention further.
Boston, 1926. The ’20s are roaring. Liquor is flowing, bullets are flying, and one man sets out to make his mark on the world. Prohibition has given rise to an endless network of underground distilleries, speakeasies, gangsters, and corrupt cops. Joe Coughlin, the youngest son of a prominent Boston police captain, has long since turned his back on his strict and proper upbringing. Now having graduated from a childhood of petty theft to a career in the pay of the city’s most fearsome mobsters, Joe enjoys the spoils, thrills, and notoriety of being an outlaw.
But life on the dark side carries a heavy price. In a time when ruthless men of ambition, armed with cash, illegal booze, and guns, battle for control, no one—neither family nor friend, enemy nor lover—can be trusted. Beyond money and power, even the threat of prison, one fate seems most likely for men like Joe: an early death. But until that day, he and his friends are determined to live life to the hilt.
Joe embarks on a dizzying journey up the ladder of organized crime that takes him from the flash of Jazz Age Boston to the sensual shimmer of Tampa’s Latin Quarter to the sizzling streets of Cuba. Live by Night is a riveting epic layered with a diverse cast of loyal friends and callous enemies, tough rumrunners and sultry femmes fatales, Bible-quoting evangelists and cruel Klansmen, all battling for survival and their piece of the American dream. At once a sweeping love story and a compelling saga of revenge, it is a spellbinding tour de force of betrayal and redemption, music and murder, that brings fully to life a bygone era when sin was cause for celebration and vice was a national virtue.