Movie Review: Live By Night doesn't live up to expectations
In his homage to Hollywood gangster movies of old, Ben Affleck wears many hats - screenwriter, producer, director and actor.
Taking on so many duties is not new to him and you would think his fourth directorial effort would produce the goods.
But if you had expected something unforgettable like James Cagney's Cody Jarrett screaming, "Made it ma, top of the world", in 1949's White Heat, or Edward G Robinson's "Mother of mercy, is this the end of Rico?" in 1931's Little Caesar, you will be disappointed.
Overall, Live By Night feels choppy and is predictable.
The movie starts out promisingly with the Boston scenes, but when it moves to Florida, it feels like a different movie altogether.
The theme of revenge also goes missing mid-way and comes back only towards the end.
Casting himself as the lead was a bad decision.
Affleck, who did a fantastic job in 2012's Argo - both as director and actor - is bland, drab and unappealing in Live By Night.
For starters, his super-beefed up physique works for his Batman role, but in this Prohibition era setting, he looks totally out of place.
And wearing suits with shoulder pads does not help.
Affleck, unlike his younger brother Casey, is not the greatest actor out there.
His interpretation of being a guy who is neither all bad nor all good means having a sad or dour face throughout the film.
He has a pool of solid supporting actors but they are not given much to do.
Sienna Miller is intriguing as an Irish mobster's mistress who catches Affleck's attention.
However, she has just a couple of scenes.
The same can be said for Zoe Saldana.
She is introduced as a sexy crime kingpin but is quickly relegated to a flower vase role.
The only star in this crime flick is Elle Fanning, who shines in a role that calls for her to have two distinct personalities.
MOVIE: Live By Night
STARRING: Ben Affleck, Zoe Saldana, Chris Messina, Elle Fanning, Sienna Miller, Chris Cooper, Brendan Gleeson
DIRECTOR: Ben Affleck
THE SKINNY: Ben Affleck is Joe, a WWI veteran-turned-bootlegger. He finds himself in a gang war between the Irish and the Italians, which almost costs him his life.
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