Live by Night

A gorgeous, boring misfire

A liberal-humanist gangster from Boston (actor/screenwriter/director Ben Affleck) comes down to Prohibition-era Tampa to run some rum and set up a gambling empire. Affleck of late has proven to be a better director than actor, but here Ben the director brings Dennis Lehane’s sprawling gangster potboiler down to Ben the actor’s lifeless level. Overstuffed, unfocused and preachy, there’s no center to it, and it’s a tad dull. But it’s beautifully shot, rich in period detail, and features some of the best character actors working today. Might have been more effective as a mini-series. With a better star. It’s not horrible. It’s just not Casino. Not even close. (129 min)