The Town (R) 124 minutes A-
A Gritty and Compelling Crime Drama with Heart
Starring Ben Affleck, Rebecca Hall, Jeremy Renner, Blake Lively, Pete Postlethwaite, Chris Cooper and Jon Hamm
The Town grabbed me from the beginning and kept me on the edge of my seat throughout. Based on Chuck Hogan's 2004 novel Prince of Thieves and directed by Ben Affleck the film brilliantly takes an old theme (one last heist/an honorable thief) and creates something thrilling, fresh and humanistic. Affleck proves that his first directorial feature, Gone Baby Gone was no fluke. The Town cultivates the gritty, blue-collar Boston formula of his last film and delicately balances adrenaline filled action with heartfelt melancholy.
The Town is short for Charlestown, Massachusetts, a place reportedly known for its bank and armed car robberies. Doug MacRay (Affleck) was a local kid, from a broken home, who had a shot at playing pro hockey but instead he inherited the family business - robbing banks. He and his band of brothers were a well-oiled machine until MacRay fell in love with Claire (Rebecca Hall), a hostage from one of their heists.
Ultimately (without knowing) Claire became MacRay's “Yoko Ono”, motivating the ringleader to turn away from a life of crime and live an honest life. However, he must complete one last job, and we all know what happens when the criminal with a heart of gold vows to do "one last job".
Nevertheless this is an excellent film and one that might require a bit of patience from moviegoers expecting nonstop action. Small performances by Blake Lively (Gossip Girl), Chris Cooper and Pete Postlethwaite are tight and on point. While Jeremy Renner is just as good here as in the Hurt Locker. Jon Hamm (Mad Men) seemed a little out of place at first, yet by the end he and his five o’clock shadow will grow on you... as will this ambitious film.