“I had that same crisis about whether or not to see a movie this week with Live By Night. Before the movie was released, there was some awards speculation. But then once it had its qualification release, it nonchalantly dropped from the conversation. Presumably it wasn’t as good as some had predicted. However, as a Boston girl at heart, I feel loyalty to the Batfleck. I just didn’t feel like seeing this, and was wrestling over the ten bucks it would cost me between admission and parking. I even skipped the showtime I intended to go to, and decided to wait for the next one. The beauty of discount Tuesdays at the nearby Cinemark is that I don’t hafta be picky about showtimes. The downside is that if I do let the day pass, then I’ve got some priority decisions to make. Such is my life.
I should have known to trust Ben. Yes he’s made some questionable choices as an actor, and it still kinda breaks my heart that after taking a decade to rebuild his rep, he jeopardized it all by donning a cape and tights earlier this year, but as a director, he’s been solid. This time he pulls triple duty as actor/director/writer of yet another Dennis Lehane story (though only partly set in New England) about a gangster in the prohibition era. Basically, Ben wanted to play some approximation to The Godfather.
Live By Night certainly isn’t up to the caliber of The Godfather, or even to the caliber of Affleck’s previous directorial efforts, but it was still entertaining, which is what matters (especially for a 6 dollar ticket). It had enough hints and homages to Coppola’s masterwork that I felt compelled to watch it when I came home. On its own, it wasn’t anything too impactful. Kinda predictable story in a world we’ve seen before, even if the location is new. Afleck is no Brando or Pacino, but he does alright.
For the escape that going to the movies provides, you could do worse. Lord knows in the middle of Oscar season you could do much better, but this movie was far preferable to the usual crap that’s dumped in the theaters in January. Just don’t expect it to join the pantheon of great gangster movies, or even great Boston(ish) movies.
Live by Night – \m/ \m/ \m/”