Review: Live By Night (2017)

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Ben Affleck writes, directs and stars in this visually sumptuous, yet clunky adaptation of Dennis Lehane’s 1920s set crime novel, in which he plays the prodigal son of a cop who ties himself to the Italian mob in hopes of exacting revenge. It’s not as clear cut as that, the script weaving in many extraneous subplots involving an impressive array of supporting actors, each better than the material they’re awarded (Sienna Miller, Zoe Saldana and Chris Messina all have roles). Affleck himself commands attention as the lead, but could have done with help sharpening up the script. The narrative is overlong, laden with cliches that mean it’s all been seen and done before. His direction is better. He’s always had an eye for the downtrodden, harsh world, and it’s no different here. The productition values make the Prohibition Era come to life. It helps also that there’s several well edited action sequences to inject some life into an otherwise flagging film.

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