Recxpectations: Live By Night
I tempered my expectations as I went into Ben Affleck's latest directorial debut and I'm sad to say that even those measured expectations were too high. I haven't read Dennis Lehane's novel but, while watching the film, I couldn't help but think that what I was watching on the screen was probably better fleshed out on the page. (A quick wiki-look later and it seems that not only were things missing but some substantial changes were made as well.)
Ultimately, as a film... it made me want to see a mini-series/HBO series of Lehane's novel instead.
If you're going to see it, here's the headspace I'd recommend walking in with:
WHAT TO EXPECT: An average mob film. Not necessarily bad but certainly not memorable. Affleck's weakest directorial effort so far. An adaptation that bit off more than it could chew (and probably hadn't figured out its issues in the script stage.) A film that leaned on VO to patch things over. Expect a moment of dialogue that awkwardly teases the title of the movie. Expect to wonder if the modern Boston accent was around in the 20's (and if you find out the actual answer, let me know!)
WHAT NOT TO EXPECT: Titus Welliver. Maybe my friend and I missed him but the first time we were aware of his presence in the film was when his name came up in the closing credits. (And given his rumored role and the direction they went with Affleck's character, I'm pretty sure we didn't miss him and he was cut out completely.) Don't expect to hear much about this film come awards season.