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...Written by
It has been speculated that Ben Affleck was in the midst of battling alcoholism while making this film. See more »
When Chris Cooper's character is sitting in his chair repeating the word "Repent", the camera pans past a picture of Jesus. That picture, called "The Head of Christ", or The Sallman Head", was painted by Warner Sallman in 1940. See more »
In 1917, I signed up to fight the Huns in France. Good men died all around me, and I saw no reason for it. The rules we lived by were lies. And they didn't apply to those who made them. I swore If I made it home, I would never follow orders again. I left a soldier, I came home an outlaw.
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My thought process going into this was: "It's got mixed reviews, but at least it will have cool cars and clothes and plenty of action, so how bad can it be?"
I ended up walking out 45 minutes before the end, not because it was bad, but because I just did not care what happened next. The film is empty; utterly soulless. It's like watching over somebody's shoulder while they play a computer game (especially in the CGI-heavy car- chase scene, but in the CGI-heavy rest of the film too.)
The acting is terrible. The main character has one single facial expression, and that's it. The dialogue is awful. The only good lines in the movie are lifted from "Miller's Crossing" and the only actor who seems to have any emotions at all is Messina.
Scene follows scene, but there's no reason to care. Things happen, but completely at random, as though the screenwriter is playing a dadaist game with cut-up Boardwalk Empire scripts. Characters are introduced, and then blown off the screen a couple of scenes later, never to be seen again.
Historical accuracy does not seem to be a priority, but the filmmakers don't seem to be going for all-out historical inaccuracy (in the style of Baz Luhrmann's The Great Gatsby) either; they just seem to be incompetent. Salsa dancing in the 1920s? Really? 1970s pantsuits? I suppose I can't blame them for not caring.
I don't care either. I don't care if you see this film or not. I just wanted to warn you how utterly meaningless it is. To paraphrase Dr. Narcisse (a memorable gangster character with cool dialogue played by a great actor): Go and see it. Or don't. Your choice.
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