The Town Review

Posted: September 21, 2010 by Daniel Simpson (PG Cooper) in PG Cooper's Movie Reviews
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For the first half of the last decade, Ben Affleck was the butt of many jokes. Then in 2007, his directorial debut Gone Baby Gone was released and received unanimous critical praise. I’m embarrassed to say I have yet to see that film. But after viewing Affleck’s second directorial effort The Town, I’m very interested in seeing it.

The Town starts with four thieves from Charlestown, Massachusetts robbing a bank at gun point. Though they manage to get the money, the alarm is triggered. As a result, they take the bank manager hostage in the event of a confrontation with the cops. No such confrontation happens however, and they let the bank manager go. Later on, the thieves meet up and it is revealed the bank manager lives four blocks away from one of the robbers. One of the thieves, Jem Coughlin (Jeremy Renner) decides he will follow her to see if she’s gonna go to the cops. Fellow thieve Doug MacRay (Ben Affleck) is worried Jem will make things worse, so Doug decides to tail her himself. Though once Doug meets the bank manager, named Claire (Rebecca Hall), they hit it off and end up dating. As they continue to see each other, they continue to grow closer and closer together. Simultaneously, Doug’s crew is being trailed by an FBI agent Adam Frawley (John Hamm), Doug is wanting to leave Charlestown, and Jem is growing increasingly suspicious of Doug and Claire.

The film’s biggest strength is the performances. While everyone is good, it’s Ben Affleck and Jeremy Renner who steal the show here. Both are excellent and have great chemistry together. Affleck’s Doug wants to leave his life of crime and move on. Despite the fact that he’s a criminal, the audience does care for Doug and you want to see him succeed. As the movie goes on, we learn about Doug’s past and understand why he’s in the position he’s in. Renner’s Jem on the other hand is an out of control, violent, border-line psycho path. Even though Jem has little-to-no redeeming traits as a person, you end up caring about him too. It’s similar to Joe Pesci’s Tommy in Goodfellas. Though like Doug, as the film continues, we learn more about Jem’s history and the history between the two.

The rest of the performances are all solid. John Hamm brings a lot to Frawley, despite the character itself being fairly bland. Rebecca Hall does a good job of showing Claire’s vulnerability and you do believe in her relationship with Doug. Blake Lively is good as Jem’s drug addicted sister. Who also has a 19-month old baby and his Doug’s ex-girlfriend. Chris Cooper and Pete Postlethwaite both do a lot despite little screen time. All in all, this is a solid cast with no bad performances.

The action here is some of the best I’ve seen all year. The opening heist sets the tone for action throughout the film and it never disappoints. The film has a perfect balance of action and story. Two action scenes in particular that stand out are a car chase through claustrophobic streets and a shoot-out in an underground parking lot. The Town doesn’t rely on it’s action scenes, but it doesn’t hurt that they’re top-notch either.

If the film has a weakness, it’s in the writing. Not the dialogue mind you. The dialogue here is great. But specifically, the actual story is already well tread ground. Granted, it is told well, and the characters do maker it interesting, but it’s certainly not a mind blowing story.

Despite the plot not being completely original, I really did enjoy this film. The dialogue is sharp, the characters and relationships are interesting and dynamic, the action leaves you breathless, and the whole experience is just thrilling. I can’t wait to see what Ben Affleck does next.


  1. ianthecool says:

    Nice review. The positive response to this movie makes me think perhaps I should see it.

  2. Jon Harrison says:

    haha I feel like a stalker! I just thought it was interesting you said you can’t wait to see what he does next and then he comes out with Argo to win best picture!

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