Ben Affleck wrote, directed and stars in the new film Live by Night. I’m sure Ben started out with the greatest of intentions with his new mob movie and after his excellent directorial success with The Town, I was excited to see his latest creation. A local hood get tangled up with the wrong woman and then must battle his way back from the bottom of the criminal ladder. Sadly, this movie is a complete mess. The story is unorganized and hard to follow. Most of the time you are waiting for something to happen and it never comes. It’s supposed to be about a man fighting for power and money using the motivation of getting back at the crooked mob boss that did him wrong. Nothing pieces together the right way and overall the acting is terrible. I can’t sugarcoat it. Everything about the movie felt forced and fake. I’m sure the Dennis Lehane novel it’s based on is not at fault. This wants to be an old Hollywood gangster movie but it felt more like a spoof on that genre rather than a part of it.
This is the kind of movie I normally would love, so for it to miss with its target audience in such a bad way is shocking. There is not a line in the film Affleck delivers I could believe in. The dialogue and the costumes were so distracting and cheeky. Sienna Miller and (Mr. reliable) Chris Cooper do a decent job with their characters but it’s not enough to save the movie. Live by Night never takes off and will leave you disappointed. Ben Affleck is a hard working guy with many success stories in his career, this is not one of them. File it next to Gigli.
The Bottom Line: A confusing snooze-fest that is not worth your time or money.
MovieMark Grade: D