Live By Night Early Reviews: A Mediocre American Dream

Live By Night Early Reviews: A Mediocre American Dream

Live By Night Early Reviews: A Mediocre American Dream
Ben Affleck and Sienna Miller in Live By Night Live By Night Early Reviews: A Mediocre American Dream

IGN – Jim Vejvoda

Director-star Ben Affleck’s Live by Night boasts impeccable casting, period recreation, action set-pieces, and cinematography, but it’s marred by a disjointed narrative and some choppy pacing. It meanders, short-shrifts several key characters and subplots, and simply has too many things to juggle in two-plus hours.

Screen Daily – Tim Grierson

A gangster movie without a killer instinct, Live By Night looks resplendent in its period costumes and moody décor, but writer-director-star Ben Affleck never burrows into the genre’s knotty moral complexity or honor-among-thieves worldview.

The early consensus seems to be that Live By Night is more of a mixed bag than a truly “bad” film, which will nevertheless be disappointing for those who have enjoyed Affleck’s earlier directorial efforts. It sounds like the main story is a bit too sprawling for its two-hour runtime, and it would have benefitted from being presented in a different format, such as a cable miniseries. Critics were impressed with the high production values that capture the look of the 1920s period beautifully, but the screenplay has too many narrative and characterization shortcomings to overcome. Live By Night attempts to tackle too much at once, meaning the story isn’t as engaging as it could have been. Many are in agreement the cast are all fine in their roles, but none of the parts are truly fleshed out in a compelling way.

Looking ahead, it will be interesting to see how this reaction impacts the film’s box office prospects. Warner Bros. will release Live By Night nationwide on January 13, 2017 (following a limited release on Christmas), where it will be going up against Peter Berg’s acclaimed Boston Marathon bombing drama Patriots Day. Adults in the mood for some serious-minded fare could end up opting for the Mark Wahlberg vehicle, especially since its word-of-mouth is currently stronger. For Affleck, hopefully he will fine tune his approach for The Batman so the DCEU installment can be a return to the taut, exciting filmmaking he’s become known for.


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