120 of 131 people found the following review helpful
Honor (As Well As Romance, Retribution and Remorse) Among Thieves,
This review is from: The Town (DVD)
Ben Affleck returns to his old stomping grounds--the working class neighborhoods of Boston--for his second directorial effort "The Town." A solidly constructed crime thriller, "The Town" is at its most successful when it's exploring the specific dynamics of the area in question. Affleck has a sense of the place, the language and rhythm of its inhabitants, that lend an authenticity to the film that elevate it beyond typical genre fare.
That's why he has achieved success working in an area and with characters identifiable to his own upbringing. His previous Boston efforts include "Good Will Hunting" (a screenplay Oscar for Affleck) and "Gone Baby Gone" (Affleck's acclaimed first feature as a director). "Gone Baby Gone," in many ways a standard detective plot, was a huge revelation for being surprisingly hard edged and cynical (it helps to be adapted from a Dennis Lehane book with similar qualities)--and it is that cynicism that made it one of my favorite films of its year.
Now adapting Chuck Hogan's "Prince of Thieves," Affleck casts himself as the stoic lead Doug MacRay. Raised in the Charlestown area, MacRay has been unable to break away from the legacy of his youth, his father, and local crime bosses. He runs a successful crew in robbing banks and armored cars. On a job gone wrong, a bank manager (Rebecca Hall) is temporarily taken hostage. When MacRay's best friend on the job (Jeremy Renner) becomes concerned she might know something to identify them--Affleck sets off to observe her as she lives uncomfortably close to the crew. But getting a little too cozy, he starts to idealize her as an opportunity to escape the life he now feels trapped in. One more big score and maybe he can get a fresh start.
Affleck plays the role with a tight lipped intensity and calm. It's left to the dynamic Renner to provide the menace and unpredictability within this tale. Turning on a dime, Renner is terrific here (as he almost always is--even in lesser films). Small roles by Chris Cooper, Blake Lively, and Pete Postlethwaite help illuminate how MacRay, while basically a decent guy, went wrong. Jon Hamm adepts himself well as MacRay's FBI foil. The cast is uniformly excellent, the action sequences are well choreographed, and the grittiness feels real and alive. However, the romance between Affleck and Hall (so inherent to the plot) is actually the least successful element of the film. The biggest lapse of logic comes after Affeck has identified that he's being tailed by the FBI. Instead of laying low--both for her sake and to appear uninvolved--Affleck continues to date Hall openly, even lunching in a sidewalk cafe. And when she learns the truth, I'm not sure her character has been developed sufficiently to make her choices appear logical.
In the scope of the picture, however, these are small gripes. "The Town" is most assuredly a successful and rich thriller for adult audiences. Affleck displays range and restraint as a director--and if that's not enough, there's a terrific cast working at the top of their game! Check it out! KGHarris 9/10.
Sort: Oldest first | Newest first
Showing 1-10 of 15 posts in this discussion
Initial post: Nov 18, 2010 9:52:39 AM PST
M. Pitcavage says:
Posted on Nov 18, 2010 11:47:35 AM PST
[Deleted by Amazon on Aug 19, 2011 3:22:15 PM PDT]
Posted on Nov 27, 2010 8:47:42 PM PST
Great review. This review tells me that the movie is worth watching but doesn't give away everything. It doesn't matter if it is blue ray or dvd release. This review is great because it reviews the content which is what I want to know about.
Posted on Jan 15, 2011 11:01:35 PM PST
Jeff B. says:
Posted on Feb 19, 2011 10:57:38 AM PST
You've made some good points about "The Town", K. Harris. However, I beg to differ in several respects.
A) I think that Claire may well have feigned ignorance when she lied to the FBI about her relationship with Doug MacRay, which Adam Frawley of the FBI learned about through a recorded telephone conversation between Doug and Claire.
B) Doug MacRay, like his buddies, is a real product of his familial upbringing, as well as his environment, and, as both the book and the movie point out, he is unable to escape that.
C) There's a little bit of the "Stockholm Syndrome" at work here; the captor and captee falling in love and planning to elope, which, like the plans for Tony and Maria in "West Side Story", go up in smoke and don't pan out.
Posted on Mar 7, 2011 9:34:31 PM PST
N. Chandran says:
>The biggest lapse of logic comes after Affeck has identified that he's being tailed by the FBI. Instead of laying low--both for >her sake and to appear uninvolved--Affleck continues to date Hall openly, even lunching in a sidewalk cafe.
but if he had suddenly laid low and disappered, that itself would have been an admission of guilt?
it could also be that having developed feelings for claire, he didn't want to suddenly walk out on her.
simply saying that there could be arguments to support the storyline too.
>And when she learns the truth, I'm not sure her character has been developed sufficiently to make her choices appear >logical.
when i watched the movie i didn't feel that way at all.
but great review - especially that insight about affleck using his familar 'stomping grounds' to lend an authentic feel to the movie.
In reply to an earlier post on May 12, 2011 2:27:28 PM PDT
Bruce Richard Marshall says:
the biggest lapse in the plot concerns Affleck's wife.
how did she know where to find him and how did she know about the robbery plan? did i miss something?
In reply to an earlier post on May 13, 2011 11:58:22 AM PDT
You mean Krista Coughlin, the sister of "Jem"? I think one of the other guys told her about the robbery plans, and where to find Doug, and she ratted Doug and his men out to the Feds, partly in retaliation for Doug's having dumped her, and partly out of concern over the possibility of losing her daughter if she failed to cooperate with the FBI.
In reply to an earlier post on May 23, 2011 11:07:17 AM PDT
Frankly, N. Chandran, I think that Claire should've broken it off with Doug and enlisted FBI Agt. Frawley's help the minute she realized what Doug was up to, and that Claire was in way over her head. It was very stupid and vicious of Claire to keep abetting Doug in his crimes. It put her in a very bad light also.
In reply to an earlier post on Jun 19, 2011 10:24:25 AM PDT
[Deleted by Amazon on Nov 12, 2011 10:54:43 AM PST]