Ben Affleck makes his second film as a director with The Town. The last time he directed a movie was three years named Gone Baby Gone which starred his brother Casey Affleck and it was widely raved by critics which I have to admit never seen that movie. But that movie had proved Affleck is poison no more to the film industry after featuring in massive flops - both critical and commercial - such as Pearl Harbor, Daredevil and Gigli (who would actually blame for his downfall? It's either his decisions or Jennifer Lopez)
Affleck wrote and stars in this movie and he plays a proffessional bank robber Doug McCray stealing truckloads of hard cold cash from the steel safes of banks in Charlestown. Along with his manic wingman Jem (Jeremy Renner, he of Hurt Locker fame) they abduct bank manager Claire (Rebecca Hall, Vicky Cristina Barcelona) leaving her safe. Out of guilt and fearing for her and their own safety, Doug decides to bond with Claire so she doesn't know that he robbed him and almost leaving her to drown while blindfolded. Doug, however, then wants to leave a life of crime for good while FBI agent Frawley (Jon Hamm) is on the look out after their miscelleneous robberies.
There were many films set in Boston and most were all about the lives of criminals. Most notable films including Clint Eastwood's Mystic River, Martin Scorsese's The Departed creating a sub genre in the crime category. The Town may possibly join these ranks since it is so gritty due to the level of cinematography and storyline.
This movie is directed by control from Affleck and the best parts of his direction dring this movie were the action sequences that requires realistic props including cars and huge assault rifles it makes this movie so virtually gripping almost climatic.
The performances... uh, well depending on what I saw it was almost a range. Affleck is fine as Doug but he reminds of Matt Damon in Good Will Hunting as if swapped both characters in that film as we wants to get out of town, his family has a history of crime. Rebecca Hall is also fine, but the chemistry with Affleck was predictable from the beginning, despite the fact that it made Affleck's character more believable.
Jeremy Renner is a scene-stealer here as his characters goes trigger happy and somewhat crazy, it just the same character he played from his breakthrough The Hurt Locker. Like how 'war is a drug', Renner's character would replace war with crime.
Jon Hamm and Blake Lively who had careers in TV (Hamm's from Mad Men and Lively's from Gossip Girl) actually gives performances. However I'm not quite sure what is Lively is doing here as Affleck's ex-lover but when they're both together in one scene it gets really edgy.
The main problem with this cast is not because of the star power, but because none of each character are developed and we just go on becoming apathetic to these people. However Chris Cooper and Pete Posthethrate are both excelllent even if they had small roles.
Affleck's main flaw is the script. In Good Will Hunting, he had an excellent credit into writing the screenplay which he won an Oscar for. However for The Town, it's just one phrase after another and the next thing you'll know it's an idiom, a metaphor, then a freakin' euphemism that I quite don't understand. Thankfully it was covered by every character's thick Boston dialect (or Irish accent if I may) because I swear to god, I can't hear one bit of dialogue from the thick of it. The thickest of them all may be a tie between Hamm and Lively as if they just stayed in a small apartment and hearing leprachauns talking.
The Town however may be one of 2010's most underrated movies as awards season is getting closer. Whether or not it would be nominated for an Oscar, I'm not supposed to know if they had greater chance in that category.
This may not be Affleck's best work but The Town is a gripping crime drama that may light a spark to Affleck's position as a director.
Try to go to town, baby!