I've wanted to see The Town ever since I saw the first previews of it. First, the story seemed quite intriguing: what happens if a man falls in love with the woman he anonymously took hostage while robbing a bank? Another thing that made me want to see this film is that, unlike many crime dramas, this one seemed to escape the artificially polished Hollywood-ish feel. I had to see it.
...And I was correct on all counts! The Town, which was co-written, directed, and features by Ben Affleck, was every bit of what I thought it would be. The directing was very "real" feeling (especially capturing the working-class feel of Charlestown, MA very well). The script was quite good, not once seeming over-the-top or under-developed. The cast and acting was very good.
But I reserve a separate paragraph for talking about the plot and its execution. This film is somewhere between a crime thriller, a character study, and a romance. It has enough teeth to excite those who like car chases and heists but enough depth of emotion to satisfy those who want strong characters and plot lines. The story revolves around Doug McRay, who robs banks with his friends from Charlestown. On one heist (the movie opener), they deviate from the plan and take a hostage. After letting her go (she never saw them), Doug decides to follow her and talk with her. They end up starting a relationship. The questions: how can Doug keep this secret, and how can he get out of his life of crime?
The plot's execution was very well done: fast enough, slow enough. By the end, you have really identified with Doug McRay and may end up feeling as conflicted as he.
For its great story line, believable direction, and its originality, I give The Town 5 stars and recommend it highly to you.