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Ben Affleck follows his acclaimed Gone Baby Gone directorial debut by directing, co-writing and starring in a taut thriller about robbers and cops, friendship and betrayal, love and hope and escaping a past that has no future. He plays Doug MacRay, leader of a Boston bank robber gang but not cut from the same cloth as his fellow thieves. When Doug falls into a passionate romance with the bank manager (Rebecca Hall) briefly taken hostage in their last heist, he wants out of this life and out of the town. As the Feds close in and the crew questions his loyalty, he has one of two choices: betray his friends or lose the woman he loves.
Ben Affleck worked triple-time on The Town, in which he directs, stars, and co-adapts Chuck Hogan's Prince of Thieves. Affleck's Doug MacRay comes from a line of Boston bank robbers. With his father (Chris Cooper) behind bars, he spent most of his childhood in Charlestown with loyal hothead Jem (The Hurt Locker's Jeremy Renner). Doug had a chance to go legit as a pro hockey player, but he threw it away on drugs and bad behavior. After the armed robbery that opens the film, Jem becomes convinced that bank manager Claire (Vicki Cristina Barcelona's Rebecca Hall) saw something, so Doug, who wore a disguise at the time, sets out to make sure she doesn't tell FBI agent Frawley (Mad Men's Jon Hamm) anything incriminating (Titus Welliver plays Frawley's partner). Doug starts by asking Claire out, and finds she's more shaken than stirred--and that he likes her better than Jem's oxy-addicted sister, Krista (Gossip Girl's Blake Lively), his sometime girlfriend. Unfortunately, neither Jem nor vicious enforcer Fergie (Pete Postlethwaite) will cut him loose until he orchestrates two more scores--the last to take place at Fenway Park. If The Town offers fewer surprises than Affleck's directorial debut, Gone Baby Gone, he raises the stakes with well-planned heists, nerve-jangling car chases, and deadly shootouts. Though Affleck looks too clean-cut to portray a thug, he gives a nicely understated performance, while Hall proves an inspired choice as a woman who could make a bad guy turn good--or die trying. --Kathleen C. Fennessy
- "The Real People of the Town"
- "Ben Affleck: Director & Actor"
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Top customer reviews
The Town is an exciting movie that you will not want to miss. It has action, drama, suspense all rolled into one.
David Lucero, author
On to the details of this edition:
This Blu-Ray version contains most of the same extras as the non Blu-Ray Special Edition-- a disc worth of vignettes that focus on the making of the film. As is typical of films that veer from a central truth in the interest of art, one theme explored is a sort of backhanded apologia: there's a glancing acknowledgement that the Boston neighborhood Charlestown (The Town of the title) is no longer the hotbed of highly skilled bank robbers it was in the Fifties and Sixties.
Technical Notes: Visually, it's a dark film , with a very urban look, so the benefits of added detail take effort to find. The Blu Ray resolution gave me some plot details I had not discerned earlier: in the nuns-with-guns armored car robbery, you can now see gas cans in the rear seat, evidence that the thieves need to torch the getaway vehicle, and are willing to risk self-immolation to assure that trace evidence is consumed.
What is here is an alternate ending that is darker, cleverly interlaced with subplots developed early in the film, and far more faithful to the book, albeit slightly overtold by an unnecessary "summing up" fake news report. Oddly enough, the central theme of The Town is little changed by the changed outcome: bad deeds, even those that predate a moral redemption, still have consequences.
P.S. One of the delights of this movie is that it reminded me of the good gangster films of the '30s and '40s. There was
also a quality that reminded me of "On the Waterfront": A young man trying to be a man in a tough working-class environment, who meets a soft and gentle woman.
This film has a remarkable cast, just to name a few: Ben Affleck -- Rebecca Hall -- Jon Hamm -- Jeremy Renner -- Blake Lively -- Slaine -- Owen Burke
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