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The Town Review

Simon's Rating: 8/10 Player Affinity Composite Rating: 7.6/10  (4 reviews total) To say that The Town is everything Takers tried to be and failed at would actually be an insult to Ben Affleck’s latest film. Mentioning that bland rehashing in the same breath would imply they even exist on the same plane, but the honest truth is this gritty Boston crime drama is something special and the best film of the early fall season. Affleck’s first foray into directing with the Dennis Lehane adaptation Gone Baby Gone shocked viewers and the critical community in kind, showing that a fading acting career does not mean one is down-and-out in Hollywood. Affleck marries his two passions in The Town, directing, producing and writing the film as well as starring in the lead role, his first since 2003’s Paycheck. He owns this comeback performance, successfully wiping any lingering distaste from duds like Daredevil or Gigli. This is by no means a one-man show, but The Town has nothing close to a weak link, in fact, this may be one of the finest pieces of ensemble acting in years. Joining Affleck in a supporting role is Jeremy Renner, fresh off his best actor Oscar nomination for The Hurt Locker and he beyond a doubt proves he is no one-hit wonder. This is Oscar-worthy acting yet again for Renner, nailing his Boston accent along with his loose-cannon mentality. He is terrifying, but impossible to pry your eyes away from. The most shocking revelation comes from Blake Lively (TV’s “Gossip Girl”) as a doped-up mother with more than a few issues. She is not only unrecognizable, but owns her role, never calling attention to her drastic deviation from type. Substantial buzz was also placed in the way of John Hamm from the acclaimed television drama Mad Men. He is sufficiently pompous as a dedicated FBI agent also scoring a number of the films laughs. thetownpic Before I wander too much further into specifics, the characters in The Town populate a Boston suburb called Charlestown, which an introductory message informs us, is the world-center for bank robbers. Affleck’s Doug MacRay heads a team of those in such a profession including Renner as James Coughlin and two others played by Slaine, and Owen Burke. During one of their routine bank heists, they are forced to take a hostage (Rebecca Hall) during their hasty escape. Afterwards, to make sure she does not know anything incriminating following her release from captivity, MacRay follows her and inadvertently falls for her in the process. There is nothing particularly revelatory about The Town, there are few surprises or much that deviates from a standard crime drama. But Affleck directs with such skill and confidence while showcasing yet another peek into suburban Boston that it is never less than riveting. There is an overlying sense of impeding dread that perforates The Town and a handful of sensational action sequences do little to let up the firm grasp the film has on our windpipes. Propelled by faultless acting and a pitch-perfect script, this slice of the Boston criminal underworld is everything for which we could have hoped following such a bland summer. Affleck has always been a star, and if he continues to produce films of this pedigree, then there might be hope for the movies yet. Rating: 8/10 The Town Directed by: Ben Affleck Written by: Ben Affleck and Peter Craig Starring: Ben Affleck, Jeremy Renner, John Hamm, Rebecca Hall Other Player Affinity Reviews Dinah thought: "There are crime dramas like Heat and crime dramas like Brothers. One is a memorable classic with well drawn characters and the other generic and forgettable DVD fare. The Town is a bit of both but with strong leanings on the former. Ben Affleck’s camerawork was more apparent in Gone Baby Gone, a surprisingly good effort on its own. The development of his own signature behind the camera suffered in order to place Affleck in front of the lens in a strong performance. In fact, all of the actors brought their A-game with Jeremy Renner stealing every scene as the slightly unhinged member of the heist gang. There is a point at which the movie begins to fall into cliché territory and therein lies its undoing. The Town doesn’t reach the status of others in its class such as The Departed, but it far outclasses such drivel as Armored. " Rating: 7/10 Steven thought: "Ben Affleck’s second feature film as a director — if nothing else — proves he’s no fluke. In all the ways his sincere and revealing debut Gone Baby Gone succeeds, so does The Town. More impressive with his work on The Town, however, is that it proves he could just as easily go on to direct an action blockbuster as he could an Oscar-winning drama. It starts with the cast and the performances he gets from them. In 2007, he helped Amy Ryan to a supporting actress nomination, and this time he gets Renner and Hamm. Next to Inception, it's the best ensemble cast of the year. The film is one of those crime dramas/bank-job action films that while not revelatory for the genre, executes everything well and sticks to a character-driven story in order to stay meaningful. Perhaps the reason it works so well is because it floats in between the drama, never becoming too much of a guns ‘n robbers flick, but also not slipping into crime melodrama for too long. But if Affleck continues to get these memorable performances out of his actors, he’ll be doing things on the other end of the camera for a long time to come." Rating: 8/10   Kieran thought: "If someone had told me in 2006 that Ben Affleck was going to be considered one of the greatest directorial prospecst I properly would have laughed in their face. Luckily, I would have been wrong. Affleck had a really good debut with Gone Baby Gone and he continues with a solid follow-up. Affleck shows he is a slick director, making a fast-paced crime thriller with well-handled action scenes. It was clear that the film was influenced by Heat with the opening scene a hybrid between the bank robbery scenes in Heat and The Dark Knight. There is excellent acting throughout from a great cast and masses of character development. Rebecca Hall may be a dark horse candidate for a best actress nod at the Academy Awards. But despite all the positives and good writing behind the film, the plot itself is pretty standard and lacks originality." Rating: 7.5/10   Player Affinity Composite Rating: 7.6/10 


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