As I sometimes forget, no one is perfect. This goes for people, game developers, musicians, and of course movie directors (though I guess they fall in the same category as people but oh well). Live by Night is the latest film written by Ben Affleck, directed by Ben Affleck, and starring…you guessed it. Ben Affleck. While the Town and Argo are both fantastic films (and some of my favorite in recent memory), this movie is not like the others.
Story: The story here…well…it loosely follows Joe Coughlin as he becomes a member of an Italian mob family and helps secure Cuban rum from Tampa to Boston. I say loosely because the story is all over the place. The film presents multiple scenarios over the course of the almost 2 hours and while all of the scenarios that are presented are quite interesting (so much so that any of them would’ve made for a great film on their own), what we get instead is problem after problem being solved in minutes before moving on to the next one. Some gems in there but they’re just muddled in a trash can of vomit. It’s poorly written and has no real likable characters, from the protagonists to the multiple villains introduced. It’s just a hot mess.
Acting: This is usually the part where I’d comment on the actors and actresses and whether or not they were good or bad or anywhere in between, however the acting is honestly bad overall and I don’t know where to start. Affleck is ok here but when compared to his other performances, you see just how bad he is in this film. Like really bad. And the rest of the cast follows Affleck’s lead. It’s just sorta sad.
Presentation: I suppose this is the best part of the movie and that is a pretty sad fact. The period cars and music help set the mood and keep the mood despite the rest of the film trying to do otherwise. That being said, I’ve seen better in other movies.
Effect: This movie is bad. Maybe it’s not as bad as some other movies I’ve seen recently (cough cough Underworld), but I feel like I must make an example of this movie. Why you may axe? Well one detail I have yet to mention is that it is an adaptation of a Dennis Lehane movie (author of Shutter Island I believe). I know we all love movie adaptations of books but at some point filmmakers need to stop and actually consider whether or not a book would make a good movie. Maybe if they did, then I wouldn’t have seen this crap.
Other: In addition to all the other sins of this movie, this movie is about 30 minutes too long. Just icing on the cake I guess. If you really want to go see this movie, then just wait to catch it on demand, but I’d save yourself the torture.
After all of that, I just hope that Affleck’s solo Batman movie is more like Argo and less like this pile of garbage.