Saturday, September 18, 2010

Review: The Town (2010)

Based on a Chuck Hogan novel entitled "Prince of Thieves" and written & directed for the screen by Ben Affleck, The Town is a Boston cop movie resembling a modern day mix of Heat and Goodfellas with an Irish-Boston accent. The film follows Doug MacRay (Affleck), a skilled bank robber from the most infamous city in the country for such a profession- Charlestown. Doug's right-hand man and lifetime friend James Coughlin (Jeremy Renner) has his back in a very Joe Pesci-like way. Though his actions are always out of pure love for his crime brother, he is at many times quite dangerous. In an early scene, the audience is taken on a bank robbery in which they escape with the comfort of having a very attractive blind-folded hostage- Claire (Rebecca Hall)- who is released with the ultimatum of "you tell, you die". Upon speaking with Federal Agent Adam Frawley (John Hamm), Claire begins to be followed by Doug. Rather than confirm that Claire is not advancing with turning in any further evidence or information on the perpetrators, Doug falls in love with his ex-victim. Will Claire conclude that Doug was in fact her robber, and will this change the way that she feels for him? After being taken back a few steps with the success of Affleck's directorial debut of Gone Baby Gone in 2007, audiences had high expectations for The Town and for this viewer the film has delivered and exceeded those expectations. The film begins and ends with energetic tension, yet the meat of the film lies in everything in between. The dynamic characters of Hogan's novel have been admirably displayed by top-notch actors, even in smaller roles such as Doug's inmate father portrayed by the always fascinating Chris Cooper. The compelling scenes involving Affleck, Hall, and the threateningly short-fused Renner will have audiences balancing on the ends of their seats (not to mention the high-octane getaway scenes). Have we seen films similar to The Town? Of course. But from the remarkable presentation as actor/screenplay writer/director by Affleck, to the breath-taking performances from the films additional actors, to the powerful jump start and triumphant finale, The Town pleases on all levels of action, suspense, and drama- earning it 31/2 stars

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