Ben Affleck has become a very adept filmmaker, despite still not being much of an actor when headlining a movie. The Town is a mighty fine example of this strange contradiction.
Luckily, Jeremy Renner and Rebecca Hall are good actors.
Here’s a trailer:
Released September 17, 2010
Written by Peter Craig, Ben Affleck, and Aaron Stockard. Based on the novel Prince of Thieves by Chuck Hogan
Directed by Ben Affleck
Starring: Rebecca Hall, Blake Lively, Ben Affleck, Jeremy Renner, Jon Hamm, Pete Postlethwaite, and Chris Cooper.
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Dougie MacRay (Affleck) and his three friends, the best of which is Jimmy Coughlin (Renner), rob banks. They’re from the Charlestown district of Boston– a district famed for the sheer quantity of thieves and bank robbers it produces. Following in the tradition of their forebears, Dougie and his pals rob banks and do a very smart job of it.
They rob one bank and make a small mistake, taking captive a bank teller named Claire Keesey (Hall) who sees a little more of the group than she should and who becomes a real concern to their hopes for staying out of prison. The special agent in charge of the investigation, Adam Frawley (Hamm), has a feeling that Claire might be able to shed more light on the robbers’ identity than she initially seems willing to do. And Dougie’s friends decide they need to keep tabs on her.
So Dougie follows her and happens to make her acquaintance. They hit it off and romance blossoms, which he keeps secret from his pals, particularly from the vicious Jimmy who is also essentially a brother to Dougie. Jimmy spent time in the slammer because he wouldn’t roll over on his friends, and Jimmy is something of a sociopath. Dougie also can’t reveal who he really is to Claire, of course.
Now Dougie needs to keep himself and his friends out of the clink, but not implicate Claire at all and keep her safe, while trying to pull of one last job for a tough-as-nails crime kingpin named Fergie Colm (Postlethwaite).
The tension unfolds well, with the story following characters and their inner conflicts and relationship conflicts driving the plot. It’s worth mentioning that Blake Lively plays Krista, Jimmy’s single mom, semi-junkie, sister with whom Dougie has a sort of romantic relationship. This is the only role of Lively’s in which she is watchable.
The plotting and acting from most of the actors carry The Town almost as handily as does the Charlestown district– itself a very solid character that drives much of what happens. Ben Affleck obviously has a strong connection with this city and he is able to capture its rhythms and culture effectively, giving the time and place a life that contrasts with the somewhat washed-out lens of the camera work.
Unfolding in a realistic way with a pace that tugs the viewer along, The Town is engaging, providing a serious, dramatic action film. The resolution is satisfying in that it is the choice that Dougie must make in order to keep safe those he loves, despite the denouement being particularly brutal.
For lovers of serious crime dramas populated by familiar people with familiar motives, The Town delivers. Affleck, again, is a surprisingly deft and nuanced filmmaker.
Content warnings: Extremely harsh language, some vicious violence, some sensuality.
Writing: 5 Acting: 4.5 Overall: 4.5
Hey man, go to town and share this all over your social town– like Twitter, Facebook, Reddit and maybe even paint the link on your car.