Ben Affleck’s Hollywood story is interesting. Firing out the gate with a few solid performances and an Oscar winning script in Good Will Hunting (partnered with best bud Matt Damon). He then fell into a pattern of duff films and even duffer performances. Had the whole JLo celebrity circus overwhelmed the once promising actor’s abilities in favour of pap shots and tabloid spreads.
Something changed. Affleck ditched all that and suddenly, unexpectedly released his directorial debut Gone Baby Gone. An effective gritty thriller with a helluva twist. His youth in Boston becoming an ingrained aspect to not only this film but all subsequent films. The Town furthered his abilities as he managed to not only deliver a muscular central performance but direct a propulsive action thrill ride.
Directing managed to unlock his acting prowess, only briefly seen before the JLo debacle, and he futher cemented his rise to acclaim with the incredible Argo. It’s a sign of how far he came when critics bemoaned his lack of victory in the Best Director Oscar category.
Now we have his latest directorial prospect Live by Night. A passion project for him. Somehow he managed to write, direct and act whilst delivering a brilliant Batman performance. His confidence as a director seems to have taken another sizeable leap. Gorgeous cinematography, modern aesthetic to the large scale action and an amazing cast. Period gangster movies generally follow set story paths, the central antagonist who doesn’t want to be a gangster but feels drawn into that world. Hell Boardwalk Empire made an entire series about that concept. This may offer something different, although it is hard to tell from the trailer. Effective in showing the feel and tone of the piece it may be, but it’s hard to sense what it’s actually about. Other than that I’m so psyched to see this and what is hopefully another home run for Affleck.
Check out the stunning evocative poster too: