Ben Affleck gave this one a good shot. He directed the movie, wrote the screenplay (based on the novel by Dennis Lehane) and played the lead role. Two out of three is not bad, but as gangster Joe Coughlin, he is not James Caan’s Sonny Corleone.
Nor is he trying to be. Coughlin is an unwilling gangster, forced to do the wrong thing because a mob kingpin disappeared his girl (played by a dressed-to-the-nines Sienna Miller). Is that the right thing, or the wrong thing? Hard to say, but either Affleck plays and writes Coughlin as good, or plays and writes him as bad. It is almost impossible to do both. Unless you are Humphrey Bogart in “Casablanca” — and those are hard shoes to fill. (CONTINUED)