Directed by Ben Affleck
Starring Ben Affleck, Jon Hamm, Jeremy Renner, Blake Lively, Rebecca Hall
Release Date: September 17, 2010
Whatever your thoughts are of Ben Affleck, there is no denying that the guy has an eye for directing. Even before Gone Baby Gone hit the theaters, there was already a considerable buzz surrounding his directorial debut and for good reason. The movie was a taut and gripping drama and showed a side of Affleck few knew even existed. While few can deny that that movie was well received, many wondered if Affleck would fair just as well, if not better, with his follow-up project, The Town.
The Town, based on the book Prince of Thieves, is a crime heist movie in the name of Michael Mann’s Heat with the heart and soul of Good Will Hunting. The film focuses on a gang of bank robbers in Charlestown, Massachusetts. After a recent bank heist, the group discovers that the bank teller they took hostage (Rebecca Hall) lives in their neighborhood. Fearing they will be recognized, Doug, their de-facto leader volunteers to check her out. In the process, he gets to know the woman and falls for her. Now Doug must choose between the life he can have with the woman he loves or the loyalty of his friends.
Affleck, in his first starring role in a movie since 2004, reminds everyone why he was such a big star in the first place. His portrayal of Doug is sound, mixing charisma with a hint of controlled rage. In fact, all the actors involved do a fantastic job, from Jon Hamm’s role as the no nonsense G-man slowly closing on Doug and his crew, to even Blake Lively’s trashy turn as Krista.
The star that shines the brightest though is Jeremy Renner. His turn as Jem, the group’s resident loose cannon, is phenomenal. He holds his own in every scene he is in and leaves the audience on pins and needles every time his character looks like he will lose control. The only downside to the performance is that no matter how mesmerizing, Renner always seems to be playing the same role in all his films, albeit it at various levels. One would hope that he gets a chance to flex his acting muscle a little more in future roles.
As for directing, Affleck does prove the kid still has it. His action sequences are fast paced and not hampered by any special slow-mo effects. Virtually in every scene, he brings out the beauty out of Charlestown’s grim and dark façade. He is still growing as a director but the talent is clearly there.
The Town is an enjoyable and dark crime heist film. If you were a fan of Affleck’s previous works, you will not be disappointed with this movie one bit. One can only hope that Affleck doesn’t wait too long to direct another one.