Review: The Town
Robbing banks isn’t just an occupation in Charlestown, Massachussets, it’s a way of life that’s passed down through the generations. Ben Affleck and Jeremy Renner head one such bank robbing gang in The Town, an even more impressive effort from Affleck than his fantastic directorial debut, 2007’s Gone Baby Gone.
When things don’t go according to plan during the film’s opening bank heist, the crew is forced to take a hostage (Rebecca Hall). They let her go unharmed, but Affleck takes it upon himself to make sure she doesn’t talk to the Feds. He winds up falling in love with her and plans a move away from his criminal lifestyle, much to the dismay of the hot-headed Renner.
The Town easily ousts Edge of Darkness as the most Bostonian film of the year. It’s the type of movie where people who actually pronounce their r’s are looked at as yuppies. The writing (which Affleck also had a hand in) is outstanding and filled with memorable conversations that are just oozing with tension.
Jon Hamm steps away from his role on Mad Men but still looks good in a suit (and a police uniform) and operates as smoothly as one might expect, but he’s absolutely ruthless in his pursuit of the gang in a welcomed departure. Hamm and Affleck engage in a game of cat and mouse verging on the one we saw between Robert De Niro and Al Pacino in Michael Mann’s Heat.
Affleck’s direction is flawless and perhaps rivaled in tightness only by his own ridiculously ripped abs, from the heart-pounding chase and heist sequences down to the more tender moments between him and Hall. He’s got a great sense of pacing. The action sequences come in waves, ebbing and flowing the way any great crime saga should. The climax is absolutely explosive, yet Affleck has the sort of attention to detail that makes it all feel extremely realistic.
I’ve never understood all the hatred for Affleck the actor, but he carries this movie with the best performance of his career. Hamm and Renner are both outstanding, with Chris Cooper, Pete Postlethwaite and even Blake Lively showing up for brief but juicy roles.
You can call Affleck a homer or one-dimensional for wanting to continue making movies based in his hometown, but if he keeps making movies like this I don’t care if he ever makes it out of Boston. I love this movie and can’t recommend it strongly enough.
RIYL: Heat, Point Break, The Departed.