Movie Review: The Town (2010)

| 15 October , 2010 | Reply

Keeva Stratton, Quip Creative

Written & Directed by: Ben Affleck
Starring: Ben Affleck, Rebecca Hall, Jeremy Renner, Blake Lively, Chris Cooper

We\’ve seen the many faces of Ben Affleck over the years; from the more memorable comedic sidekick in various Kevin Smith films, as buddy to good old Will Hunting, and perhaps in the more vapidly forgettable love interest roles alongside former pop star girlfriends. But the creative force of Affleck as writer, director and star of his latest film The Town, is likely to change our perception of Ben, forever – from the affable and good looking costar to a true film talent. His performance, the script, and the film, are simply that good.

Set in Charlestown, Boston, apparent home to the highest rates of bank robbery in the United States, The Town tells of life inside this crime-riddled reality. Doug MacKray (Affleck) is the brains behind a quartet of bank robbers who, in a manner that is vaguely reminiscent to the mask-wearing mob of Point Break, hit banks hard and fast, in a well-honed style that has the FBI frustrated and casting about for evidence. But when a particular hit encounters some unexpected hitches, the gang chooses to take a hostage, Claire (Rebecca Hall), as a means to facilitate their escape.

When Claire is let go, the paranoia surrounding what she may have seen or heard intensifies, and MacKray decides to follow Claire, to make sure she isn\’t giving anything of value to the FBI. In the process, he falls in love with her, setting the complex plot in motion.

This is a film driven as much by character as it is by plot. It explores the seemingly inescapable path of those caught in the grasp of this twisted and dissolute world. Through Claire we see a woman who, despite her seemingly constant victimisation, remains compassionate. MacKray shows us the complex reality of a life that sits somewhere in between being the subject of abuse, and the perpetrator of crime and violence, all while having to exist in a corrupt world.

The supporting roles are what truly set this film apart. James (Jeremy Renner), as the jail hardened gang member who once took the rap for MacKray, and who appears to have had any remaining ounce of conscience ripped away during his ill-formed youth, is forever challenging their ‘brotherhood\’ and continually guilting MacKray back into the dystopia of their broken world. Krista (Blake Lively) is outstanding as the desolate and drug-riddled ex-girlfriend, who finds herself constantly used by the vicious cycle and is neither able nor willing to break free from its grip. And Chris Cooper, who plays MacKray\’s jailbird father, has only a small role, but is able to offer so much insight into the trappings and consequences of this outcast underworld.

The Town is a powerful film that gets to the heart of the breaking down of society. Telling the stories of the victims, both innocent and guilty, it paints a desolate reality of a community where right and wrong are no longer simple black and white concepts. Laced with exciting action sequences and strengthened by solid performances and a gutsy script, this is a must-see movie that you can certainly bring blokes to.

The Town is in cinemas now.

Keeva

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