The Town

The Town is written and directed by Ben Affleck and is about a man who struggles to escape the town he lives in and the life of crime associated with it.  Doug MacRay has lived in Charleston, Boston all of his life pulling bank and armored car jobs.  During his latest job he decides he wants to keep and release a hostage named Clare Keesey (played by Rebecca Hall).  Doug wonders whether Claire the assistant manager of the bank he robbed saw anything so he decides to tail her.  Claire meets Doug at a Laundromat where she is still clearly shaken from the ordeal she suffered at the hands of Doug’s crew.  Claire’s sadness causes Doug to feel guilty internally and a friendship begins to form between the two of them.  Doug has also cultivated a relationship with a man known only as The Florist.  The Florist is the town’s primary gangster that Doug receives job orders from.  Doug and Clare eventually become romantically involved and it becomes difficult for Doug to decide what kind of life he wants to live, a life free from crime or the path of the criminal underworld taken by his friends and family.  In the meantime, an FBI agent is intent on finding Doug and his crew and locking them up in jail for the rest of their lives.  The whole movie comes down to one last job and Doug has to decide what kind of man he wants to be.  Does he want to leave the life of crime behind him and start anew with Claire or does he want to stay loyal to the friends who’ve know him his entire life?

My favorite English teacher once told me that to be a good writer you need to write what you know and in the case of The Town, Ben Affleck does exactly that.  This film succeeds because he does that.  He knows the town, and the people, and all the places within which gave him a lot of creative freedom because he knows the culture of the community so well.  This film is essentially an ode to Boston and all of the interesting and fascinating people and events within it.  The Town succeeds mainly because it feels lived in.  As an audience, we all become invested in Doug’s hopes and dreams for himself and want to watch him succeed.  The only actor that is not suited for the role they are playing it is Blake Lively as Krista.  I found that her performance as a cheap whore made her look like one which I guess I can credit as solid acting, but it felt forced.  She seemed to be playing a role as if she were a drunk prostitute.  Much credit of this film’s success should go to Ben Affleck.  He is fast becoming a very capable director and he knows what he wants out of each shot.  The shining example of this is his speech to clear in the garden where he tells her about his life.  Jon Hamm proves very capable as the FBI agent stalking Ben Affleck.  I can’t say I see an Oscar nomination in his future, but he played his small role very well.  This film is very gritty and suspense at times and is perfectly capable of keeping the audience’s attention for the 2 hours and 4 minutes it runs.  From this highly recommended for audiences, not because it’s a Ben Affleck film but because it’s a well acted well paced crime thriller.

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