Ben Affleck has gotten a ton of hate throughout his entire career. He has deserved a great deal of that, remember when he did Gigi. I still get nightmares just thinking about that horrible movie (horrible is still putting it lightly). Lately though he has turned everything around with some good performances and showing us that he can direct very well. “The Town” is Ben Affleck’s second movie as a director. His first was “Gone Baby Gone”, a superb movie. He showed great promise as a director. That was truly an outstanding movie, while this one is not as great as that one, it is still good. Still people are hating on him, saying he can only make good movies that are set in Boston. That may be true, but he is just sticking to what he is good at. Is that such a bad thing. Unlike in Gone Baby, he actually stars in this one.
Ben Affleck plays Doug MacRay, he is the leader of a Boston bank robbing gang. During their most recent heist. Jem (Jeremy Renner), the most violent member of Doug’s crew, takes bank manager Claire Keesey (Rebecca Hall) hostage. They do end up letting her go though. Then they find out that she is from Charleston, the same exact place where they all live. Jem things she might have seen something, so he wants to find out how much she really knows about their heist. Dough offers to so it instead, he fears Jem will do more than have a friendly chat with her (he has good reason to think that). As he is trying to find out if she may know anything about the crime, he falls for her. Things are getting bad, a FBI agent (Jon Hamm) is trialing him and his gang all over Charleston. With the FBI closing in on him and his friends questioning his loyalty, he has a big dilemma ahead of him. He can betray his friends or lose the only woman he has ever cared about.
The performances were very good throughout. Ben Affleck gives his best performance to date, it is still not ground braking, but it is a step up from what he has been doing in other movies. Jon Hamm gives his best performance to date as well. Just like Affleck, it still isn’t amazing, but still better than anything he has done in the past. Jeremy Renner steals the show, he gives just as good of a performance here as he did in “The Hurt Locker”. He embodies the role, I only wish he had more screen time. At times the movie would drop, and I would wish he would show up again real soon. Chris Cooper also does a great job in the one scene he is in (you heard me, one scene, but he still manged to be very good in the extremely little amount of time he has). Rebecca Hall is just good, there is nothing special about her acting here. One problem I had with the cast was Blake Lively. She wasn’t bad, her Boston accent was bad. It got on my nerves a little bit as the movie went on. It kind of reminded me of Brad Pitt’s bad Irish accent in “The Devils Own”. Brad Pitt did redeem himself however with his amazing accent in the movie “Snatch”. So maybe Blake Lively will get her accent down in some future movie she does. Overall the cast is pretty great.
The action scenes are important in this type of movie, and they are pretty decent for the most part. All of them are good and entertaining, but there was one problem that really only happened in the final shoot out. With so much close range gun fights, very few people get shot. It’s like someone only dies when the script demands that there needs to be a death. That took some of the excitement out of the final shoot out. The heist scenes are done decently well, but they could have been better. Micheal Mann, now he knows how to shoot a big gun fight. It would have helped to have higher quality action scenes.
The love story part of the movie works well (I still couldn’t help but think that he would not have fallen for her). This is all thanks to the script, the script is good through the whole movie. The interaction between characters is great, and everything seems genuine. The characters are given a good amount of a background and depth, this is mainly given to Renner’s character. The rest of his gang members are the typical type of guys as every other crime movie.
This movie is not original in any way, we have seen all of this done before. This is not a bad thing, and it does a good job at keeping us somewhat engaged in what is going on. What “The Town” lacks is the depth that Affleck’s other movie “Gone Baby Gone” had. It does capture the atmosphere though. This is a basic heist movie that succeeds at just that. I am still looking forward to what Affleck does in the future. Overall there is a lot to like here. Like I said this movie doesn’t bring anything new to the genre, but it is still a good heist movie.