Academy award-winning actor-director Ben Affleck is back with yet another directorial venture Live By Night, an ambitious pulp fiction set in the 20s—adapted from Dennis Lehane's 2012 novel of the same name. Interestingly, Affleck's first film as a director Gone Baby Gone in 2007 was adapted from a novel by Boston crime fiction scribe Dennis Lehane. His last venture Argo—which won the prestigious Oscar and Golden Globe—was also an adaptation. And coincidentally, all his works had a blend of pulp with prestige. So, Live By Night is no different.
Live By Night is a crime drama written, directed, co-produced and starred by Ben Affleck. It stars Elle Fanning, Brendan Gleeson, Chris Messina, Sienna Miller, Zoe Saldana and Chris Cooper in important roles. Produced by Warner Bros, the story follows a Ybor City bootlegger Joe Coughlin (Affleck), a World War I veteran, who becomes a notorious gangster.
However, reviewers have trashed the film for lack of detailing, while many of them felt that Affleck has concentrated more on the sets and grandeurs rather than the characters. "This sprawling and a rather messy gangster pic have both the prestige pedigree (adapted from the novel by Dennis Lehane of Mystic River fame) and slick production design smarts to truly be something special. However, it is one of those movies that keeps promising to go to a higher level at any moment, then seemingly forgets all about it. You can't fault Live by Night for its ambition, but you will curse it at times for its absent-minded ways," a review on Herald Sun opined.
The film has opened to average response in the United States earning less than US$10 million (S$14 million) against its US $65 million budget—and is also performing poorly internationally, debuting to just $3.3 million overseas. An article on news.com stated, "Because Live By Night is a confusing jumble. But above all, it commits the cardinal sin of gangster movies: It's really, really boring." Incidentally, the feature was titled, "WHY, Ben Affleck? Why did you make this movie?—that says it all!