The Town

Ben Affleck has done it all, and it might even be said that his best work is in the past, but fans and critics alike have shown their approval of Affleck’s latest work at writing, acting, and directing with The Town.

The Town is set in a small one square mile section of Boston called Charlestown where it is said more bank robbers live than anywhere else in the country. It’s a family trade, and it’s passed down from father to son. Doug MacRay (Affleck) is the son of a well known bank robber played by Chris Cooper and is employed by a crime lord named Fergie (Pete Postlethwaite). The opening scene starts off with an explosion of action as Doug and his team take an armored car and a bank at the same time. The methodical robbery is played out with precision until the bank’s assistant manager, Claire Keesey (Rebecca Hall), trips the silent alarm and puts Doug’s partner, James ‘Jem’ Coughlin (Jeremy Renner), into a frenzy. As the gang begins their getaway, they grab Claire and use her as a hostage in case there is trouble, only to leave her blindfolded on a beach.

The next day, after the heat has calmed down, the gang gathers to reconcile what they’re going to do with the girl who might be able to finger them to the feds. When faced with the option by Jem to take her out, Doug decides to track her down and see how much she knows. During a brief encounter in a laundry mat, Claire becomes overwhelmed from the shock of the previous events and seeks consolation in Doug. What had started out for Doug as a means of covering his own tracks, turns into a blossoming romance between him and Claire. Doug sees everything he wants out of life in Claire: safety, compassion, sensitivity, and freedom. As Doug gets closer to Claire, be begins to distance himself from his crew and seeks to get out of the business altogether. With the FBI agents hot on their trail, Doug and his crew have one last job to pull that will be their biggest yet.

The story tries to be a trifecta, being part camaraderie movie, part heist thriller, and part forbidden romance. While there are bright moments for each, the story could have done better if it had focused more on one than the others. Affleck co-wrote the screenplay from an adaptation of the novel Prince of Thieves by Chuck Hogan. The story is extremely compelling, and though the preview gives away all the major plot points of the film it doesn’t detract from the richness of the story as a whole.

Affleck does a great job giving homage to his home town, Boston. The shots are spectacular and authentic. Though not as rich as his first directoral debut, Gone Baby Gone, The Town contains a great sense of detail in it’s direction. Here, Affleck shows us how well rounded he is as a writer, actor, and director as well. The shots are perfect at giving insight into the life of a bank robber and affective at keeping the audience engaged through the two hours and ten minutes.

For those who have seen Gone Baby Gone, there will be a lot of familiar faces in The Town as well. The casting is both brilliant and confusing. Jeremy Renner is absolutely perfect in his role as Doug’s hot headed friend and partner who could snap at any moment, but Slaine, who plays another crew member is just is just as bad as any other rapper trying to act. Rebecca Hall and Blake Lively are perfectly cast as the two extreme relationships in Doug’s life. Hall is amazing every second she’s in the spotlight and can truly express herself without saying a single word. Titus Ward, Pete Postlethwaite, and Chris Cooper do an amazing job as the supporting cast making you wish they had more screen time. Though Jon Hamm’s character, the obsessed FBI agent, leaves something to be desired, it’s actually Ben Affleck himself who doesn’t fit in the film. Granted, it’s very hard to act and direct in the same film, still, Affleck gives an inauthentic performance in the role that has the most potential.

The Town is a gritty film and attempts to tell a dark story in a presentable way. However, what Affleck views as presentable is different than what I would deem appropriate. Though the film is labeled as violent, the content is actually pretty tame for the subject material. There are, however, parts of this film that are inappropriate and I would not recommend them to all audiences, but if you are mature enough to look past the superficial edge and see the richness of the story, then you might be able to appreciate this film.

I’d give this film 4 out of 5 stars. Get ready to think and discuss. It’s another thought provoking film.

The film is rated R for strong violence, pervasive gritty language, drug use, and some sexuality.

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2 Responses to The Town

  1. Pingback: Gone Baby | Reviews: Outside the Box

  2. Pingback: Gone Baby Gone | Reviews: Outside the Box

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