Critic Reviews



Based on 41 critic reviews provided by Metacritic.com
Live by Night is clearly Affleck's love letter to classic pulp, and almost no noir touchstone goes unturned in its two-hour-plus run.
Live By Night is solid enough entertainment, but it lacks the nasty edge or narrative muscularity to make it memorable.
The film is sharply written and crafted, lavishly photographed, impeccably acted, with lots of twists and turns - yet for all that, it somehow lacks zing.
There's a lot of cinema to admire here. And being reminded of the directorial talents of Affleck-undeniably a more accomplished filmmaker than an actor-is no minor event.
Overstuffed and disappointing, Live By Night wastes a strong supporting cast. It's not a total loss, but it doesn't hold up against the rest of Affleck's filmography.
Although Affleck's been a decent director - capturing real local color in "Gone Baby Gone" and "The Town," building tension nicely in "Argo" - his work here is dim and dull. Live by Night may be about rum, but the pacing is like molasses.
At their worst, Affleck's roles are stern and lifeless without soul, pretty sculptures with nothing inside. It was only a matter of time before he made a movie that embodied that lesser side of his career.
This Prohibition-era drama deals limply with themes of loyalty, love, power and redemption, but not in any unique way, its emotional punch as vague as its cipher of a main character.
The period detail is rich and worth watching, and there's a deep bench of strong character actors to give the movie occasional jolts of life. Overall, however, the usually charismatic Affleck never manages to bring gangster Joe Coughlin to life.
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Labelling Live By Night a disaster is a little uncharitable; the baggy drama is perhaps more painfully mediocre than full-blown folly, but it's close.

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