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The Town

A 2010 movie directed by Ben Affleck.

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Affleck makes a film more about the Robbers than the Robbery...

  • Sep 25, 2010
In 2006 Martin Scorsese raked across the scene with a great little cops and gangsters film “The Departed”. Aside from his thick influence by the world of his home town in Boston, there are a lot of cues that Ben Affleck was influenced by Martin Scorsese’s masterwork in that same 2006 crime thriller, which in the wrong hands could have been a failed project of a film trying to be better than Scorsese’s work, but taking cues from that film and at the same time creating it’s own vibe in the way it paints a complex message surrounded by an authentic world crafted by Affleck. The film takes place in the hustle and bustle town of Charlestown, aka the bank robbery capitol of the world. Early in the film Affleck and his team take on what is supposed to be a routine bank job, until they’re forced to take the manager hostage. After releasing her they realize later on she lives within a mile of them, Affleck is sent to clean up their tracks, but ends up falling in love with her, setting into motion the rest of the chaotic, paranoia-inducing events of the film. Just like in 2006′s The Departed The Town is supported by a great cast making up its cops and robbers. Jon Hamm who’s gotten a lot of acclaim for his role in Mad Men sleazes it up as the villainous FBI Agent, and Blake Lively, although the trailers would lead you to think otherwise, has a few small parts in the film but when she’s on screen she’s a great compliment to things. Rebecca Hall, the main love interest, pulls a lot of the film’s dramatic moments and when she’s at her best the film hits some of its finest moments. Ben Affleck, the director and main character, isn’t going to win any awards for his performance, but has a subtle performance as the normal guy holding everything together, and many of the film’s moments of true tension comes from this guy’s quest of a new life, and the prevention of that because of his past. The best performer of show for me was Jeremy Renner, who was nominated for his role in The Hurt Locker last year, and is truly unstoppable in a couple of the film’s scenes as the loose cannon of the bank robber group, you’re never sure what’s going to happen when he’s on screen. It’s also worth mentioning Pete Postlethwaite shares some of the film’s best moments, and even though in a majority of those he’s cutting roses as a florist, he’s the fiercest florist you’ve ever seen. The film also has a great authenticity going for it. Affleck grew up in Boston, and you can really that not just in the way he shoots the film and captures these gorgeous pieces of landscape and monuments, but in his intense respect for the art of storytelling and action in any scene the film isn’t allowing you to breathe thanks to the fast-paced, high-tension feel of it all.

Affleck knows this city like the back of his hand. All of the streets have this great claustrophobic feel to them that only builds over time, and there are some moments in the film where he’s not afraid to just take in the beauty surrounding a very grim situation. Take for instance, a scene where Doug and Jem are going in to basically bust some heads. As they cross the street to get into the future victim’s apartment, Affleck gets a great shot of a beautiful memorial in the background. Why did he do this? He could have easily shot that 3 second scene anywhere else, but he knows what his audience appreciates. This being Affleck’s second feature film, it’s admirable how much finesse he shows in shooting his big action pieces. The guy has a great choreography to each of his fights so they have just enough emotional punch, and that they all mean something to the story. There’s a car chase about 3/4 of the way through the film that is easily one of my favorites in the past couple of years of film. However, when all is said and done, The Town is going to be remembered by me for not delivering a few great action pieces or having that peppered by a fantastic group of talented actors, but for me it’s going to be the story that Affleck produces amongst the gunfire and bad Irish stereotypes. Although it does make the film feel a little heavy length-wise (the film clocks in at a little over 2 hours, but it feels like a really long 2 hours), there’s a lot of time spent making sure these character’s resonate. You get to know them, learn their tendencies, how they react in situations, and it all builds and builds to help the overall impact of the movie. As you get to know who these characters are it makes the action scenes all the more tense because you truly know what’s at stake each time a bullet leaves the chamber. There’s no meaningless death made famous by the likes of Bruckheimer or Bay, but every time a character hits the ground, it’s something worth noticing. The series of events that take place in the film work in a way that allows the stakes to gradually build higher and higher in a really unique way. Without giving too much away, there’s a scene or two in the film that will have you cringing in your seat as you really explore the paranoia that comes with robbing banks, and Affleck (as a director at least) enjoys every second of it. All of this intercedes with the film’s incredible message (I’ll leave it to be a surprise for you all) that weaves in and throughout the film’s events in almost a Shakespearean way, and completely makes sense by the time the film fades to black. When I start to think about The Town, there’s only a couple of things I could point out as being a “fault”. As I said earlier the film did feel a little long even at the two hour span, but it never really drags, it just takes its time and covers a lot of ground. Another thing you could almost count Affleck to a fault for was being a little over-ambitious with his plot. He tries to get a lot of material in there, from the relationship between Doug and Jem’s sister that never really goes as far as it clearly wants to, to Jon Hamm’s role that’s never quite explained enough, there’s a little bit of room left to breathe in Affleck’s script that would have been nice to see explored in another 20-30 minutes. I know those two criticisms contradict each other, but I guess that’s how film journalism works some times. At the end of the day, it can be argued The Town is the best film in theaters now. The film deserves a truck load of Oscar love come March, and for a variety of reasons. The Town is a culmination of great performers, great writing, and great coordination by its director, it ends with a bang, and it’s a hard cinematic experience to forget.

Affleck makes a film more about the Robbers than the Robbery... Affleck makes a film more about the Robbers than the Robbery... Affleck makes a film more about the Robbers than the Robbery... Affleck makes a film more about the Robbers than the Robbery...

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More The Town reviews
review by . September 19, 2010
posted in Movie Hype
Good Direction and Characters 'MAKE
Ok….last time I saw Ben Affleck on camera was when I saw the romantic drama “He’s Just Not That Into You” but my memory is forever tainted with memories of him playing opposite J-Lo in the movie “Gigli“ (which I haven‘t seen up to this day). I was never “pro-Affleck” nor was I an “anti-Affleck”; however, I do know that he has some storytelling skills as he co-wrote “Good Will Hunting” and despite several plot missteps …
review by . December 28, 2010
Let's get one thing out of the way, lest I upset the Affleck fanboys: The Town is not a good movie. And not just because the trailer looked interesting but completely misled the audience. I'm glad they gave Victor Garber a job, even briefly, since he'd probably be behind on his rent otherwise (and we know from Pretty Woman what happens then).   In case you don't know, it's about a bank robber doing "one last job" as a romance develops with a woman - previously …
review by . January 06, 2011
posted in Movie Hype
Boo to Affleck!
The story is about robbers and robberies in Charlestown. The premise that the story is based on is not a healthy one; at least for me it is not.       Now, if I had been robbed and saw with my own eyes my colleague being hit in the head (and possibly died from it too) and then to be taken as a hostage, I'd have undergone an experience where I need to see my psychiatrist with immediate effect!            And yet, 4 days later, Claire …
review by . November 09, 2010
With GONE, BABY, GONE, Ben Affleck announced himself as a very capable director. It was a riveting film (even if it had some rather melodramatic turns…more the fault of author Dennis Lehane), and showed an excellent feel for working with actors. With THE TOWN, Affleck has stepped up his game another notch.    Very little that's truly new happens in THE TOWN. It tells the story of a small band of bank robbers, the cop who seeks them, and how the leader of the gang wants to get …
review by . December 03, 2010
posted in Movie Hype
When Ben Affleck's acting career began to go down the toilet he found a new calling when he directed Gone Baby Gone.  Directing.  If there was one thing we all discovered about Ben Affleck, it was that he was a competent director who knows what he's doing.  The Town shows that there are times when he can be rather meticulous.  The Town is a good movie in many respects, mostly because it focuses on characters more so than anything else.  That's also one o the …
review by . April 13, 2011
posted in Movie Hype
A neighborhood in Boston called Charlestown is well known because it has the most number of armed robbers in the U.S. Doug MacRay (Ben Affleck), James Coughlin (Jeremy Renner), Albert 'Gloansy' Magloan (Slaine), and Desmond Elden (Owen Burke) are all robbers living in this neighborhood. Doug and James are like brothers to each other, as the Coughlin family basically took Doug in since his mother died when he was young. The four together are very succesful bank robbers; however, one bank …
review by . December 22, 2010
posted in Movie Hype
2 1/2 Stars: this is not the town for me
Ben Affleck has never had it easy in Hollywood  he has had one of the roughest  careers of any actor I know and yet even tough times have been rough for him he always finds some way to bounce back  into the  limelight  and restore his image. In 2006 Affleck revived his fledgling career  with a Golden Globe nominated turn in Allen Coulter’s directorial debut "Hollywoodland"(2006) which had Affleck playing a washed up actor  named George Reeves(the …
review by . April 19, 2011
posted in Movie Hype
When looking for a good heist film I also try to look for something that will either have me on the edge of my seat or something strong actors that the characters keep me entertained.  The Town is a film that gives you a handful of shining moments with it's characters and just enough suspense and action to keep you from walking out of the theater.      I will admit that the film does achieve it's goal of entertaining an audience, because I truly was entertained.  …
review by . April 16, 2011
posted in Movie Hype
      THE TOWN      When this film was first released I was all kinds of excited since I am a huge Jeremy Renner and a Ben Affleck fan as well. Add in that not only do I like those two as actors but I thought Affleck's first film "Gone Baby Gone" was great. So needless to say that we [my little group of friends and such] really wanted to see this movie and were excited about it. Of course we loved it but I must say that this DVD/Blu-Ray combo …
review by . October 05, 2010
posted in Movie Hype
Pros: cinematography, scenery of Boston, accents     Cons: unlikable characters, unrealistic     The Bottom Line: Ben Affleck will never live like common people.     I’m not opposed to rooting for the bad guy. Really, I’m not! There have been some very likable villains in the great history of cinema. Doug MacRay (Ben Affleck) is simply not one of them.     MacRay and his buddies are bank robbers from Charlestown, …
About the reviewer
Jake Wilbanks ()
Ranked #53
   My name's Jake, I write film reviews and the occasional music/video game/comic/tech review. I've been involved in journalism over the past 3 years, and am currently majoring in Journalism … more
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About this movie


The Town is a 2010 action crime thriller film starring, co-written and directed by Ben Affleck that is based on Chuck Hogan's novel Prince of Thieves. The film opened in theaters in the United States on September 17, 2010 to rave reviews, with Rotten Tomatoes giving it a "Certified Fresh" rating with 94% positive critical reviews.

The motion picture is one of a number of films set in Boston, Massachusetts over the past decade that have formed a "sub-genre" of crime movies, including Affleck's own Gone Baby Gone.

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Director: Ben Affleck
Genre: Drama
Release Date: 17 September 2010 (USA)
MPAA Rating: R
Screen Writer: Ben Affleck, Peter Craig
Runtime: 123 minutes
Studio: Warner Bros. Pictures
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