Review-Ben Affleck right now seems to be coasting. He is taking on these passion projects like “ The Accountant” and “ Live By Night”, just to give him something to do till we get to “ Justice League”. I admit, I was not a fan of the PG13 “ Batman v Superman”. I was a fan of the longer uncut version. I liked “ The Accountant” it was the Liam Neeson film that he felt he needed to do. “ Live By Night”, I am actually torn on. This film felt so much like the last film I watched, the Will Smith heavy hearted and overly sensitive “ Collateral Beauty”. This film has a great cast, it just feels that are so wasted on this heavy handed, forgettable, old fashioned gangster film. If you loved the film “ Gangster Squad” you may actually like this film as well. The sets and costume design in this film are very rich and appealing. The story lacks any emotional bond or heart to make it engaging. This film takes place in Boston, set in the 1920’s. We meet Affleck’s character named Joe Coughlin. He is an irish war veteran who fell in love with a woman named Emma shortly upon his return to home. It seems that Emma was the mistress of a mob boss named Albert White. He finds out about this affair his mistress has and decides to end it for her in a tragedy.
He beat Joe down pretty bloody and left him for dead. In his closing statement to Joe he vows to kill Emma as well. Joe is sent to jail for three years shortly after. When he gets out, he decides to start up a casino and bootlegging company. As you can assume this is met with opposition from all sides. This film also covers the relationship between Joe and his father. His dad we learn is a lifelong police officer. The scenes that seem to focus on this relationship really get the film going in such a positive stride. The main issue I had with this film is that it did not really get going until after an hour into the film. This film has some seriously bad pacing issues. Which is a shock because Affleck as a director is such a perfectionist in this art. He seems to be clutching at straws trying to maintain a proper execution. This film is too muddled to make sense of for the most part. Affleck feels like he wanted to do this film, and would not take no for an answer. This film felt like he was trying too hard to capture something that just was not there. I have no issue, with the last half hour of this film. I feel it was laid out perfectly and finishes on a note that makes you glad you stuck around. The film though is so paper thin and long winded, that it takes a lot of patience to muscle thru this film. I am a sucker for any film about the 20’s. I am such a history buff and love to see how this era was seen thru other eyes. This film, has bits and pieces that are fine, but as a whole, it is problematic and feels rushed.
5 out of 10