Live by Night
The key question behind Live by Night isn’t so much “Why did they bother?” as “What went wrong?”
Don't trust me on this movie. It rubbed me the wrong way. I can understand, as an abstract concept, why some people would find it entertaining. It sure sounds intriguing: "Night at the Museum: Battle of the Smithsonian." If that sounds like fun to you, don't listen to sourpuss here.
Oh, did I dislike this film. It made me squirm. Its premise is lame, its plot relentlessly predictable, its characters with personalities that would distinguish picture books, its cost incalculable (well, $150,000,000). Watching historical figures enact the cliches identified with the most simplistic versions of their images, I found myself yet once again echoing the frequent cry of Gene Siskel: Why not just give us a documentary of the same actors having lunch?
One actor surpasses the material. That would be Amy Adams, as Amelia Earhart, because she makes Amelia sweet and lovable, although from what I gather, in real life that was not necessarily the case. I found myself thinking, isn't it time for a biopic about Earhart? Over the closing credits, Bonnie Koloc could sing Kinky Friedman's "Amelia Earhart's Last Flight:"
Just a ship out on the ocean, a speck against the sky/Amelia Earhart flying that sad day/With her partner, Captain Noonan, on the second of July/Her plane fell in the ocean, far away/(Chorus) Happy landings to you, Amelia Earhart/Farewell, first lady of the air.