While heist movies such as “Ocean’s Eleven” feature unrealistic story lines and over-the-top acting, Ben Affleck’s “The Town” is all business. Themes of loss, disappointment and dissatisfaction are combined with solid performances to create a stunning, emotionally charged film.
In “The Town,” Affleck stars as the loyal Doug MacRay, a leader of a group of sophisticated bank robbers in Charlestown, Boston. In the film’s opening scene, MacRay and his partner, James Coughlin (Jeremy Renner), snatch Claire Keesey (Rebecca Hall), a bank manager, for ransom. The romance that develops between MacRay and Keesey creates an underlying tension throughout the rest of the movie.
The film gradually builds anticipation through Affleck’s solid direction. His intimate knowledge of Boston taken from his experience growing up in Cambridge as well as his Hollywood-swagger create a high-octane movie. Affleck presents Boston in a fresh, original manner and puts the emphasis on detail, not filler.
Affleck and fellow screenwriters Peter Craig and Aaron Stockard deliver a fine script with few bland moments, but it does have some issues. For example, MacRay’s crew robs banks at will despite working full-time jobs. No one directs suspicion toward them except inept FBI Special Agent Adam Frawley (Jon Hamm), which is highly unrealistic compared to the rest of the film.
Hamm’s character doesn’t bring any substance to the film despite the many traumatic events MacRay and his crew carry out, and his performance is simply uninteresting. However, Affleck’s performance shows growth and maturity. As MacRay, Affleck’s confidence in his acting ability is paramount to “The Town’s” success. Unlike the one-dimensional acting Hamm displays, Affleck shows fear, determination and tenderness among other touching emotions.
“The Town” never stops impressing — its visceral car chases and urban firefights will wow even the most discriminatory of audiences. With a seemingly tried-and-true plot that’s invigorated by Affleck’s apt directing, it’s hard to resist visiting “The Town.”
“The Town” was written by Ben Affleck, Peter Craig and Aaron Stockard and directed by Affleck.