Live by Night
Live By Night
By Brian Wallinger
Director Ben Affleck's weakest outing, Live By Night fails to provide anything new to the crime genre.
The Film begins with a bank robbery gone awry involving Affleck's character. What follows is a stereotypical rehash of the soldier rising through the ranks of an organized crime empire trope. Affleck's screenplay, based off the novel by Dennis Lehane, has him delivering his lines with a mechanized cadence, abandoning emotional depth in place of progressing skin deep narrative.
The film's frenetic actions are adequate, but lack creativity, harmonizing with the film's overall dimness. Live By Night is a movie that lives in the shadows of its predecessors and perfectly content with its mediocrity. All the tools are there and accounted for, but they are used to construct a loud, forgetful experience. As a drama it is very misguided and cheap however as a period piece action film involving the mob it delivers all the usual offerings.
Robert Richardson's cinematography is one of the saving graces, boasting some great shots of Florida's gorgeous Coast Line, while capturing the forbidden dens of iniquity that rose to prominence during the Prohibition. Jacqueline West's stunning costume design pairs with Nacy Haigh's set decoration to present the lived in extravagance o the era with eye peeling ensembles and intricate interiors.
In theaters now, Live By Night is an action filled Noir homage that never realizes its potential. Affleck's first misfire is visually appealing, but the script's undeniable lack of originality proves to difficult to overcome.