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The Town

Submitted by admin on September 18, 2010 – 11:47 pmNo Comment
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One thing is certain after watching The Town – Ben Affleck has great action chops for a director. His ability as a triple threat (actor, writer, director) seems hampered though by a lack of attention to realism between the characters. Nonetheless The Town contains at least three riveting robbery sequences, the middle of which concludes with a well-edited and shot car chase that involves small streets and wicked reaction shots.
The Town, like Affleck’s previous and superior directorial effort Gone, Baby Gone, takes place in Boston. Affleck obviously stays in a comfort zone regarding projects; in fact his Oscar (for best screenplay) was for a film (Good Will Hunting) that also takes place in Boston.
Doug MacRay (Affleck) and James Coughlin (Jeremy Renner) head up a quartet of bank and armored car robbers. Hot on their trail is FBI operative Frawley (Jon Hamm). Complicating matters is a bank manager who becomes involved with MacRay (Rebecca Hall). There are a few other notable performers like Blake Lively as James’ sister and Pete Postlethwaite as a kind of local crime kingpin.
When The Town goes into crime or chase mode the pacing and occasional violence propel the story straight as an arrow. It’s when the various characters interact in The Town’s quieter moments that some of its inconsistencies become apparent. Doug’s relation with Hall seems forced rather than spontaneous. Hamm’s agent is so mean spirited it’s hopeless to try to feel sympathy for him. Likewise James never comes off as anything other than a fierce hood. As The Town moves towards its conclusion the players and fireworks become a watered down version of Michael Mann’s Heat. Still, The Town has enough gumption that one doesn’t mind its obvious influences.

- Michael Bergeron

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