Movie Review: Live by Night – Ben Affleck Makes a Film About How Swell he is & Sucks at It

Is it just me or does Ben Affleck have very sad eyes these days? Maybe it’s just that one time that’s cottoned me onto it.

Live by Night is a film about a guy called Joe with emotion that’s about as standout as his name. He’s an outlaw an the roaring 20’s who professes to “not follow anymore rules” and then immediately joins the mob cause he’s upset about a girl.

Apparently this film should have heart or something, but I don’t know where that heart is, perhaps lying on the floor somewhere. It has all the pieces in place for a great film, betrayal, a little intrigue, a dude working himself from the ground up and it all amounts to a film about nothing in particular in the end.

Director Ben Affleck directed a film where everything that happens contorts itself into making sure it looks like a bad guy so the protagonist looks as good as possible. He’s a mob boss that you’re never scared of, and every conflict seems a little deflated. No event scars him in any meaningful way and there’s no real character growth, just a little bit of a reality check that if you’re a romantic guy, you’re going to get screwed over by asshole chicks.

The film had a stellar cast, but it was dominated at every turn by Affleck, but not because he did a great job.

Whoever did the sound design did a great job though, the thud of gunshots sounded amazing. Hopefully it sounds as good at your own local cinema.

Matt, our resident professional with an opinion had a similiar opinion.

It’s good if you want to watch bits of about 5 different movies all at once and care nothing about believability… Or cohesive plot.

Actually it’s more like they did things in that movie because ‘this is what you do in these movies’.

Live by Night releases January 26th in New Zealand. I wouldn’t watch it. But if I had to choose between Gold and Live by Night… I’d go with Live by Night I reckon.

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About the Author

Izak Flash
Entertainment writer and illustrator. He holds the conch, so he gets to speak. Send him abuse on twitter at @Izak_Flash