The Town

The Town

Starring Ben Affleck, Rebecca Hall, Jon Hamm, and Jeremy Renner
Directed by Ben Affleck
Rated R for strong violence, pervasive language, some sexuality and drug use
Appropriate for ages 17+

    When a group of friends in Boston, who also work together as bank robbers, run into issues during a bank heist, they decide to take a hostage (Hall).  In order to keep tabs, the leader of the group (Affleck) decides to try to get personally involved with her without her knowing he was one of the criminals so that he can find out how much she knows.  In the process his emotions get the better of him and he begins to fall for her instead, all while she thinks he is a completely different person than who he really is.

    It’s awfully fun getting surprised by a film and while The Town won’t be your Oscar winner for best picture, it is a darn good drama that is full of terrific performances and headed up by an immensely talented Affleck. 

    For about the first hour I just sat there thinking about how much this movie really wants to be Heat, which is an extremely tall order considering Affleck is no De Niro, and Jon Hamm most definitely is no Pacino.  After a bit, the movie takes on a different personality, paying homage to the Godfather portraying a criminal with female problems who can’t get out of the business, but who really wants to go legit.  But everything is at least done with a fresh, modern spin that won’t get you too distracted. 

    What I admired most about the film isn’t the story, but the great performances, namely those by Renner, Hall and Affleck.  Renner is such an ass here and you just hope  and pray that he will eventually reach his comeuppance.  That is the sign of a well-played villain.

    But Affleck’s turn behind the camera is just as impressive as his one in front.  You could tell he had a knack for visual storytelling with Gone Baby Gone, but this new venture is an even more solid outing that brings its audience to the very heart of Boston and into the lives of its characters.  He’s done such a great job of reinventing himself after what could have been a devastating career move in 2003 with Gigli, and while he might never live that moment in time down, at least he can say he’s moved way beyond it. 

    Overall, I really like this dark, gritty film that might have a few ripoffs here and there, but provides for a nice couple of hours of entertainment.  B+