Starring: Ben Affleck, Zoe Saldana, Elle Fanning, Brendan Gleeson, Chris Messina, Sienna Miller, Chris Cooper

OUR RATING: ★★★☆☆

Story: Crime drama written, directed and co-produced by Ben Affleck the story is set in 1920s Prohibition which is flowing with booze in an underground network of gangster-run speakeasies. Joe Coughlin (Ben Affleck), the son of the Boston Police Superintendent, Thomas Coughlin (Brendan Gleeson), long ago turned his back on his strict upbringing for the spoils of being an outlaw. But even among criminals there are rules and Joe breaks a big one: crossing a powerful mob boss by stealing his money and his moll. The fiery affair ends in tragedy, setting Joe on a path of revenge, ambition, romance and betrayal that propels him out of Boston and up the ladder of Tampa’s steamy rum-running underworld.

Verdict: Affleck has managed to direct a well-crafted stylish period crime noir drama, but it’s just too overbloated and the action scenes don’t always gel together. The ensemble acting is all done perfectly well, but no one really shines. There some great lines here, however the script sometimes comes across as unfocused and could have had some scenes cut on the editting room floor. This is certainly not a bad movie and there is no doubt that Affleck has proven himself to be a masterful director, I just feel this particular movie just wasn’t up to his usual standard.

REVIEWS

 

Best Quotes    (Total Quotes: 26)


 

[first lines]
Joe Coughlin: [voice over] 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. I lived one robbery to the next. A good day was filled by sleep, and a good night spent running too hard to look back. I lived that life for ten years until it caught up to me. It all started with an inside man.


 

Joe Coughlin: [voice over] I wanted nothing to do with Albert White and his war, but I didn’t have a choice. His girlfriend was my inside man and I was in love with her. He’d kill her if she tried to leave him, and he’d kill us both ten times over if he found out we were together. But we were in love and we were stupid, and every time he was out of town, we were together. The fit was perfect.


 

Thomas Coughlin: I’ve been a police officer for thirty-seven years. If I’ve learned one thing above all, do you know what it is?
Joe Coughlin: Is this going to be another yarn from the old country?
Thomas Coughlin: No. What you put out in the world will always come back to you, but never how you predict.
Joe Coughlin: I’m sure it doesn’t.
Thomas Coughlin: Unearned confidence of that about which one is ignorant, always has the brightest glow.
Joe Coughlin: I think I’ve earned enough.


 

Maso Pescatore: It no longer matters so much what you want. You’re in this life, and it can only end two ways. One, you get to Albert and put an end to him. Two, I tell Albert about the girl, and he gets to you first.
Joe Coughlin: Like I said, I ain’t a gangster. I done enough killing in this life. You want to tell your enemy some rumor you heard, go ahead. If I kill Albert White, somebody’s just going to jump up and take his place, and I’d be married to the Pescatore mob for the rest of my life. I stopped kissing rings a long time ago.


 

Emma Gould: We could leave.
Joe Coughlin: Where would we go?
Emma Gould: Somewhere warm.
Joe Coughlin: My brother, Danny, lives in California.
Emma Gould: Where?
Joe Coughlin: I don’t know, I haven’t talked to him in ten years. He sent back a bunch of postcards saying he was doing stunts, trying to be a writer.


 

Emma Gould: God, I’d go to California.
Joe Coughlin: I don’t know much about honest work, I got to tell you.
Emma Gould: Well who said anything about honest work? No, we do what we want to do, we’ll go where we want to go. Sleep by day.
Joe Coughlin: I got a job in Lawrence on Saturday. Then I’ll be free.
Emma Gould: Free to leave?
Joe Coughlin: Yeah, free to leave.


 

[after being beaten by White’s thug]
Albert White: I’m sure as you die, you’ll tell yourself you did it for love. No, you feel guilty about what you do, so, you spend your life hoping someone will punish you for your sins. Well, here I am.
Emma Gould: Joe, I’m so sorry.
Albert White: She’s sorry. We’re all fucking sorry. Take her out of here.
Emma Gould: You said you wouldn’t kill him. Albert, that was the deal.
Albert White: Don’t worry.
Emma Gould: I would never have brought him here…
[White slaps her hard in the face]
Albert White: You think I’m going to be humiliated by a whore? Someone comes to me says some arsehole is putting horns on my fucking head. You’re lucky I didn’t cut your tits off and throw you in the fucking dump. Albert White: Take her to the car, Donnie.
Emma Gould: No! Joe, I’m sorry!
[Donnie grabs her and drags her away]


 

[referring to Emma]
Joe Coughlin: Albert, don’t kill her.
Albert White: You should be more worried about what I’m going to do to you.
Joe Coughlin: Albert, don’t kill her.
Albert White: Fuck do you care? She just sold you down the river.
Joe Coughlin: Please. Albert.
Albert White: I wasn’t honest. I said if she delivered you to us, I wouldn’t kill you. But we both know I have to kill you, don’t we, Joe? And then, I’m going to kill her, too.


 

Thomas Coughlin: You were the child that was supposed to fix the distance between me and your mother. Were you aware of that?
Joe Coughlin: I was aware of the distance.
Thomas Coughlin: People don’t fix each other. And they never become anything but what they’ve always been. All we get sometimes is a little luck. Don’t waste yours pining for a dead girl.
Joe Coughlin: You make your own luck.
Thomas Coughlin: Sometimes. Sometimes, it makes you.


 

Joe Coughlin: [voice over] I pled guilty to abetting armed robbery, and was given three years and four months in the Charlestown prison. If my father had lived two more weeks, I could have said goodbye. I got one guaranteed life, and I was going to live it. I would use Maso and his hatred for Albert to get me started.


 

Maso Pescatore: Funny how things change. What happened to all the talk about not being a gangster? Now, you come to me, looking for a job.
Joe Coughlin:  I got nothing left. I don’t wanna be a gangster, but I’ll work for one if I can get to Albert White.


 

Joe Coughlin: [voice over] I realized it’s not enough to break the rules. You have to be strong enough to make your own.


 

Joe Coughlin: How you doing?
Dion Bartolo: Look at you.
Joe Coughlin: Look at you.
Dion Bartolo: Hey, sorry about your father.
Joe Coughlin: Yeah, sorry about your brother.
Dion Bartolo: Thank you. Hey, thank you. Listen, when Lefty Downer found me in Montreal and told me the Pescatores wanted me to come work for them, I thought it was a straight bamboozle. Then I thought, if anyone could charm the devil, it’s my old partner. Look at this.
[pointing to his car]
Joe Coughlin: Holy shit!
Dion Bartolo: Would you look at this? Here, after you.
[he opens the passenger door for Joe]
Joe Coughlin: Get the fuck out of here.
Dion Bartolo: I work for you now. Boss Joe Coughlin. Reach under the seat, and you’ll find a friend.
[Joe reaches under the seat and finds a gun which he puts in his pocket]


 

Graciella Suarez: What is your cause?
Joe Coughlin: The distribution of demon rum, and that no man should rule another man’s life.
Graciella Suarez: If you corner the rum market, you will be a king.
Joe Coughlin: Well I’ll still have to deal with Albert White.
Graciella Suarez: But how will you hold the power once you have it?
Joe Coughlin: Why? You don’t think I’m strong enough?
Graciella Suarez: I don’t know if you’re cruel enough. And if you are, I will be very sad.
Joe Coughlin: Powerful men don’t have to be cruel.
Graciella Suarez: But they usually are.


 

Graciella Suarez: Tell me something. Do you think there is such a thing as a noble man?
Joe Coughlin: I got nothing against noble men. They just rarely live past forty.
Graciella Suarez: My father died for Cuba. My mother died of a broken heart. He would often tell Esteban and I, Joe Coughlin: “You cannot truly live “unless there is something for which you would die.” He sounds like a good man.
Graciella Suarez: He was.


 

Graciella Suarez: We will never be lovers.
Joe Coughlin: No? Why is that?
Graciella Suarez: We will not be lovers.


 

Joe Coughlin: Look, you’re the Grand Wizard of the Ku Klux Klan around here. Congratulations. But do you think we that we got where we are by letting some inbreds by letting some inbred shit pickers muscle us?
Virgil Beauregard: If that’s what you think we are, you’re making a fatal miscalculation, son. Because we’re clerks, and bankers, and police officers, and deputies, and, hell, we even got a judge. And if you’re dim enough to fight us, we’re going to rain bloody hellfire down on you and all you love.
Joe Coughlin: So, you’re threatening me with people who are more powerful than you?
Virgil Beauregard: Exactly.
Joe Coughlin: What the fuck am I talking to you for?
[Dion takes out his gun and shoots Beauregard in the face]


 

Loretta Figgis: My father says there once was a good man in you.
Joe Coughlin: I wasn’t aware he’d departed.
Loretta Figgis: You do quite a lot for the people here. But we both know your good works are mitigated by your evil deeds.
Joe Coughlin: We do?
Loretta Figgis: You profit from the illegal addictions of others, their weakness and sloth and libidinous behavior. But you can free yourself of that.
Joe Coughlin: But I don’t want to.
Loretta Figgis: Of course, you do.
Joe Coughlin: Miss Figgis, you’re a lovely woman, and your story is amazing. I’m not surprised the flock’s up threefold since you started here.
Pastor: More like five times.
Joe Coughlin: More booze has been drunk in the last ten years than ever before, because people don’t want to be told they can’t do it.
Loretta Figgis: The same could be said of fornication. People want it, but don’t want to be told they can’t have it.
Joe Coughlin: Well, nor should they.
Loretta Figgis: I’m sorry?
Joe Coughlin: If people want to fornicate, I see no reason to stop them.
Loretta Figgis: And if they wish to lie down with animals?
Joe Coughlin: Do they?
Loretta Figgis: I’m sorry?
Joe Coughlin: Do people wish to lie down with animals?
Loretta Figgis: Some do, and their sickness will spread if you have your way.
Joe Coughlin: Forgive me, I see no correlation between alcohol and lying down with animals.
Loretta Figgis: There’s a correlation across all sin. It is all against the wishes of God, therefore, all equally offensive.


 

Joe Coughlin: Let me apologize. I think we, we got off on the wrong foot here. I’m just here to ask you if you would be amenable to omitting the casino issue from your sermons, and in exchange we’re going to bring a business here. Business will create jobs, which will reduce the sinfulness that comes with poverty and idle hands. We’d be willing to contribute to the church. Hell, we’d be willing to build a few churches.
Loretta Figgis: If God rewrites the bible to cast gambling as virtuous, I will refrain from speaking against it. But until then, we don’t get to pick our sins, Mr. Coughlin.


 

Loretta Figgis: We’re all going to hell.
Joe Coughlin: I don’t think you’re going to hell.
Loretta Figgis: You know what I learned as I’ve been thrusting my soul out to God?
Joe Coughlin: What?
Loretta Figgis: This is heaven. Right here. We’re in it now.
Joe Coughlin: Then how come it looks like hell?
Loretta Figgis: Because we fucked it all up.


 

Loretta Figgis: I don’t know if there is a God. But I hope there is. And I hope he’s kind. Wouldn’t that be swell?
Joe Coughlin: Yes, it would be.
Loretta Figgis: You seem not to despair. Do you have a secret?
Joe Coughlin: No, No secrets. I have my wife. That’s enough.
Loretta Figgis: But what if you lose her?


 

Joe Coughlin: What’s your father going to do?
Loretta Figgis: Sit in his chair, I guess. Blind with rage that men touched his daughter the way he used to touch his wife, and worse. He goes around the house whispering one word over and over.
Joe Coughlin: What word?
Loretta Figgis: Repent, repent, repent.
Joe Coughlin: Give him some time, maybe he’ll come out of it.


 

Graciella Suarez: [to Joe] Even if you win today’s battle there’s so much violence in what you do.


 

[after finding out Emma is alive]
Joe Coughlin: Did you ever love me?
Emma Gould: We had a laugh, Joe. Yea, sure, there were moments, but you had to make it something it wasn’t.
Joe Coughlin: Which was what?
Emma Gould: A lie. You know, we’re not God’s children. We’re not fairy tale people in a true love book. We dance like motherfuckers, so the grass can’t grow underfoot. I’m free, Joseph. If you want to come by now, you got an open invitation. We always had a lot of laughs.
Joe Coughlin: I don’t want to be free.
Emma Gould: Oh, come on. That’s all we ever wanted.
Joe Coughlin: It’s what you wanted. And now you got it. Goodbye, Emma.


 

Joe Coughlin: [voice over] We built Graciela’s casitas for abandoned women and children who needed a place to stay. We named our son after my father. But he was thoughtful, kind like his mother.


 

[last lines]
Joe Coughlin: [voice over] On Saturdays, I take my son to the shows.
[as they watch footage of Hitler]
Joe Coughlin: [voice over] Some little German guy is making trouble overseas. I don’t believ they’ll fight another war, though. No percentage in it. My son loved the show. It was about an honest sheriff in a dirty town. All he could talk about was getting his own badge when he grew up.
[he sees his brother’s name Danny Coughlin as the screenplay writer for the movie]
Joe Coughlin: That’s my brother. That was my brother’s name. That’s your uncle.
Joe Coughlin: [voice over] In the afternoons, we fished for red fin and snook. One day, my son asked me, “Where’s heaven in the sky?” And I told him what Loretta told me, “This is heaven. Right here. We’re in it now.”


Total Quotes: 26

 

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