Friday, October 1, 2010

The Town

Summary: A team of life long friends execute highly planned robberies in the Charlestown area of Boston. Doug MacRay (Ben Affleck) is the mastermind and leader of the group but after crossing paths with Claire Keesey (Rebecca) a bank manager who they took as a hostage he starts to have a change of heart. MacRay must now deal with his growing emotions for Claire, the growing discontent between him and his best friend James Coughlin (Jeremy Renner), and the extremely smart and determined FBI agent Adam Frawley (Jon Hamm) who is onto his teams heists.

Plot (A-): What a great movie The Town was! Adapted from Chuck Hogan’s novel Prince of Thieves the story is filled with nail biting scenes. For a short amount of time there is a sense of calmness that overruns the story but that is short-lived due to the on going cat and mouse game MacRay and Frawley play. From the opening scene to the closing credits I was hypnotized but what I was watching. There is excellent plot development as well as character development, which allows viewers to appreciate the story and its characters. More specifically, The Town focuses on MacRay and his relationship with his friends (specifically Coughlin), his incarcerated father, the FBI, and Claire. Although, MacRay is a thief it’s easy to feel for him on a deeper level. The emotional pain he suffered throughout his life adds several layers to the story thus making The Town more than just a film about robbing banks and armored money trucks. The Town is similar to The Departed in the sense of the emotional roller coaster it puts the audience through.

Action (A-): Although there are only three heists throughout the film they are extremely cool. MacRay’s team are experts in the thievery game and have all the angles covered…and then some. These guys were not some morons who walk into a bank and rob the place. No, they wear masks, gloves, and carry automatic machine guns. They contaminate the crime scene with bleach before they leave so there is not a chance for forensics to establish a lead. Furthermore, their methods of getaway are a highly thought out thus adding to the action sequences. Overall, lets just say that these guys put the Ex-Presidents (Point Break) to shame. The last heist is definitely one that viewers will remember because MacRay’s team decides to steal a shitload of money from Fenway Stadium.

Acting & Dialogue (A): Serious dialogue with light touches of comedy run heavy through The Town forcing viewers to enjoy the film even more. As for the actors every single one gave a dynamite performance. There was a time when Affleck’s career was called into question by many for his choices of roles. In The Town we see a veteran actor give one his best performances of his career. I think what worked best for him, as it did in Good Will Hunting, was that the story took place in Boston. While Affleck did not grow up a thief he did grow up in Boston therefore he fully understood the attitude of not only a Bostonian but the character of Doug MacRay . Jeremy Renner (The Hurt Locker) provided another solid performance. While Affleck played MacRay with touches of compassion and softness Renner’s Coughlin was rough around the edges. The diversity between both characters allowed for a proper balance within the film. Jon Hamm’s (Mad Men) Adam Frawley was a combination of both MacRay and Coughlin. Unwilling to negotiate, highly determined, and extremely smart are just a few characteristics that explain Frawley. Although, I don’t watch the hit show Mad Men on AMC I finally understand why people love Jon Hamm and his character. He simply becomes the character. As for the two supporting actresses in the film Rebecca Hall and the beautiful Blake Lively, who played Coughlin’s drug addicted sister and once lover of MacRay, Krista, their contributions to the film showed a more sensitive side to the character of MacRay. It is abundantly clear that the two women represent his past and his future.

Sex Appeal: N/A

Director (A): This is Ben Affleck’s sophomore film as a director, his first was the 2007 film Gone Baby Gone, which starred his younger brother Casey. Because Affleck is in front of the camera so much you tend to forget he directed the it. However, after the credits roll you’ll remember and then recognize how great of job he did. It is very difficult to write the screenplay, star in the film, and direct the entire production. As challenging as it was on a physical, emotional, and mental level I don’t think Affleck could have done a better job. Affleck has a real knack for directing and I look forward to his future projects as a director.

Overall: A-

1 comment:

  1. I agree with you on many points that this was an excellent film but I feel you kind of glazed over the contribution that the 2 female characters made. Not only did they add a softer dimension to Affleck's character but they gave powerful, memorable performances, Lively in particular. Her portrayal of a hard luck, insecure, drug addicted young mother was chilling. She totally established major acting cred with this role.

    Also N/A on the sex appeal??? I know you are a straight dude, MT but come on! Age has been KIND to Mr. Affleck. YOW ZAA!!!