Live By Night appears in an aspect ratio of approximately 2.40:1 on this Blu-ray Disc. This was a positive presentation.
Sharpness looked fine. Virtually no softness materialized, so the movie showed solid clarity and accuracy. No signs of jagged edges or moiré effects appeared, and I witnessed no edge haloes. Print flaws also failed to mar the image.
Like many modern action flicks, Night went with a teal and orange tint. Actually, given the period setting, the orange leaned a little sepia, but the stylized hues still dominated. Within their parameters, the hues looked fine; I wish the teal/orange trend would end, but I still thought the Blu-ray replicated them as desired.
Blacks were deep and dense, without any muddiness. Shadows were also smooth and clear. Overall, I found this to be a satisfying transfer.
In addition, the film’s Dolby Atmos soundtrack added real punch to the proceedings. Downconverted to Dolby TrueHD 7.1, the soundfield frequently used all the channels to good advantage, as the mix featured a wide and involving soundstage.
Music demonstrated excellent stereo delineation, and the effects popped up all over the spectrum. Those elements showed nice localization and melded together smoothly.
The surrounds played an active role and added quite a lot to the mix. Given the nature of the film’s action, the soundtrack gave us nice opportunities for involvement, and it never disappointed me. This was a vivid and engrossing mix.
Happily, the audio quality lived up expectations as well. Speech consistently came across as warm and natural, and I noticed no signs of edginess or issues with intelligibility. The music stayed loud and dynamic, as the track replicated the score with nice clarity and definition.
Unsurprisingly, the effects packed a wallop. They were vibrant and accurate, with clear highs and booming bass. Low-end was always tight and firm; the track exhibited genuinely terrific bass response. This became a high quality track.
As we shift to extras, we find an audio commentary from writer/actor/director Ben Affleck, director of photography Bob Richardson and production designer Jess Gonchor. All three sit together for a running, screen-specific look at the source novel and its adaptation, story and characters, cast and performances, sets and locations, cinematography and period details, music and connected topics.
Affleck usually delivers good commentaries, but this discussion of Night tends to be a snoozer. While Affleck, Richardson and Gonchor offer a smattering of useful notes, they tend to praise the movie too much of the time, and plenty of dead air comes along for the ride. This winds up as a spotty, disappointing track.
Four featurettes follow. Angels With Dirty Faces lasts eight minutes, 54 seconds and includes notes from Affleck, author Dennis Lehane, and actors Sienna Miller, Zoe Saldana, and Elle Fanning. This one looks at cast, characters and performances. A few decent notes emerge but this seems like a lackluster piece.
Next comes The Men of Live By Night, an eight-minute, 30-second reel with Affleck and actors Chris Cooper, Remo Girone, Chris Messina, Brendan Gleeson, and Robert Glenister. This one acts as a masculine counterpart to “Faces”, which means it examines male cast, characters and performances. Like its predecessor, it’s mediocre.
Live By Night’s Prolific Author goes for six minutes, 53 seconds and provides remarks from Lehane, Affleck, Messina, and producers Jennifer Todd and Jennifer Davisson. We learn about aspects of Lehane’s career and work, with some emphasis on Night. This becomes a reasonable overview of the author’s material.
Finally, we see In Close Up: Creating a Classic Car Chase. In this seven-minute, 35-second piece, we hear from Affleck, Lehane, stunt coordinator Ra Rondell, director of photography Robert Richardson, composer Harry Gregson-Williams and editor William Goldenberg. As implied by the title, this featurette details an action scene found in the film. While brief, it presents a good mix of notes.
Five Deleted Scenes fill a total of 15 minutes, 56 seconds. Most of that running time comes from an alternate opening, one in which Joe and Emma don’t already know each other. It takes up nine minutes, 25 seconds and offers a mildly intriguing variant, but not anything memorable.
As for the others, one in which we formally meet Joe’s brother offers interesting material, albeit nothing crucial. The additional three clips seem superficial.
We can view the scenes with or without commentary from Affleck. He tells us a little about the sequences but fails to deliver us much information. Don’t feel too sad if you skip Affleck’s deleted scene commentary.
The disc opens with an ad for Kong: Skull Island. No trailer for Night appears here.
In the crowded world of gangster films, Live By Night fails to stand out from the crowd. Aspects of the story show promise but the end result feels sluggish and lackluster. The Blu-ray presents strong picture and audio as well as a decent set of supplements. Despite the talent involved, Night seems bland and forgettable.