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- Director: Ben Affleck
- Writers: Peter Craig, Ben Affleck
- Release Date:
- Genre: Crime, Drama, Thriller
- Run Time: 123
Welcome to the bank robbery capital of America.
From the first fifteen minutes, you know you
e in for a gritty and realistic look at Charlestown and the violence beneath the painted picture of the city. This is the setting for an intense and emotionally gripping story set in Charlestown which is referred to by the locals as “The Town”. The story is nothing fresh and new but the way the film goes about it makes it a must see crime drama. It pits Doug MacRay (Ben Affleck) in the hardest situation of his life when he falls for an emotionally distraught Claire Keesey (Rebecca Hall), a bank manager at a local bank. The twist, which comes very early on, is that she was terrorized by MacRays brutal gang of thieves just days before meeting her. In hopes to assure that she has seen nothing, MacRay follows her and ends up comforting her which then in turn creates a very loving relationship between the two. Just when things are getting serious between the two, Jem Coughlin (Jeremy Renner) tells Doug that getting out will be hard and he will not let him turn his back on the town or his life of crime. This sets up the story.
The story is nothing fresh but what keeps it feeling fresh is the brilliant performances that go along with it. A real stand out performance is Blake Lively, who plays Krista Coughlin, a junkie drug mule and single mother. Her performance really cements her legitimacy as an actress and I fully expect great performances out of her in the future away from her Gossip Girl typecast. The other performances are top notch, including Jeremy Renner, who plays Jem, a sadistic and brutal street thug. His performance is so unnerving and unflinching that it reminds me very much of a new wave version of James Cagney. His performance is definitely one to be remembered. The rest of the cast is brilliant, including Affleck himself, who is bettering himself as an actor with every role that he (carefully) takes on.
The directing and writing in this film is nothing short of mesmerizing. The car chase sequence in the film is a very nice and tasteful throwback to The French Connection (1971). The action sequences are carried through with tough and gritty realism especially the shootouts. In most action films, nowadays, the violence is glorified and very violent. This film, while remaining violent takes on a different approach by not glorifying it and showing a character get shot repeatedly for three different angled shots. It is a breath of fresh air, literally. The script lends itself to the crisp and sassy dialog with the Boston area lingo. The films directing and writing is the real shining star in this sky.
Overall, The Town is rough and brutal but necessary. It features an extremely solid sophomore directorial job on behalf of Ben Affleck, who in turn directed himself to giving one of his finest performances as the conflicted Doug MacRay. This is a film to be remembered due to its realistic and almost voyeuristic take on the lives of thieves and the risks that they take to make sure that the score is worth the stakes. I highly recommend The Town to anyone. I will not bog down anyone with comparisons to other films because this is a film that stands on its own two feet and for that, I say “bravo”.
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