Film Reviews

Live By Night (2016)


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

Director: Ben Affleck

Sometimes I feel like people like to engage in a little Ben Affleck bashing. Perhaps when someone is as successful as he is, there’s a sense of tall poppy syndrome, cutting down someone hoping to see them fail. The huge outcry about him playing Batman comes to mind.

So when Live By Night came out and people were talking dirty about it, running in into the ground, I had to question it. Is it as bad as everyone seems to think?

The film is set in Florida during Prohibition, where a group of Boston gangsters take to running the town. Affleck stars and directs as a man with a past, who has tried to stay out of trouble, but managed to fall foul of the bad guys back home, and so has become what he hates, a gangster. He’s soon at the top of the game in Florida, but his past haunts him. He’s not a ruthless man, is he strong enough to stay in control?

There’s plenty of stars in this film, and each gives and excellent performance, particularly Fanning and Saldana, and the film feels vital and lavish in it’s sets and costumes. But I think, though the plot is nice and twisty, it feels a little bit off centre. A reluctant gangster who’s secretly a romantic good guy? And in some scenes, I felt like Affleck was perhaps not fully invested, which might have something to do with writing, directing and starring in his own film.

But, is it a bad film? Not by any stretch.

When you compare it to other Affleck films like The Town or Argo, you can see that there’s a passion that’s missing, perhaps. There’s a sense of style over substance. But compared to other films out there right now, it’s not a terrible film at all. It’s quite good, in that it’s a bit different, in it’s period setting, and what it tries to do with the mafia/gangster genre. If you like crime films, and lavish productions, then try out this film, and go in with an open mind.

See It If: Should please Affleck fans, those who like crime stories, and anyone who loves period films of the Prohibition era.


9 thoughts on “Live By Night (2016)”

  1. Good review. This is a good movie. A bit slow and probably won’t satisfy everybody. But Ben was good, his directing was better and result was remarkable.

    PS: I like what you write by the way. Cheers! πŸ˜€

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Good review. Personally, I like this movie a bit more than most. It was definitely well-made and well-acted, but it had too much narrative to tell. In truth, Live by Night should’ve been told as a TV series (like on HBO). It would’ve been awesome and run like 4 or 5 seasons.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. This is actually the first objective review I have read for this movie. When I first saw the trailer for this one I thought it looked absolutely awesome. But then after reading so many bad reviews, I had my doubts. I always have faith in your reviews so I am definitely going to be checking it out 😊😊 Great post !

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Probably just needs to recharge the batteries. Feels like he’s got stuff going on in his life at the moment and he’s just not able to give it everything maybe? Pure speculation on my part with no knowledge whatsoever so of course posting it on the internet. πŸ™‚

    Liked by 1 person

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