Greetings! Have you ever wondered if a movie's worth blowing the money on to see at the theater or what to add next to your NetFlix queue? Then you've come to the right place! Enjoy!

"The Town" Review

Ben Affleck has never been taken very seriously as an actor. While he's had some good performances in films like Chasing Amy and most recently in the little-seen-but-so-so Hollywoodland (as the doomed Superman, George Reeves), he's typically come off as callow and shallow - his "Just get me into a cockpit! bits in Pearl Harbor still amuse - and it's easy to forget that he does hold an Academy Award for co-writing with Matt Damon (say it like Team America!) Good Will Hunting and suspect he was the lesser half of that partnership.

Probably sensing his leading man days were numbered, he stepped behind the camera to direct the pretty good Gone Baby Gone, which was marred by a flat (and mysteriously overpraised) performance by his brother Casey. Now he's calling the shots again as well as starring and co-writing The Town and based on what works and what doesn't, I still think Damon was the brains of the writing department, but Affleck clearly has strong directorial chops.

The titular town refers to the Charlestown neighborhood of North Boston (Affleck's hometown) where reportedly a crazy percentage of bank robbers hail, including Affleck, The Hurt Locker's Jeremy Renner, and a pair of guys who are so secondary to the gang that no-names play them and I don't recall their names. After an opening heist where they take a hostage (Vicky Christina Barcelona's Rebecca Hall) that may or may not be able to identify one of the gang, Affleck strikes up a relationship with her, first to make sure the gang's in the clear, but then because he's falling for her.

While the gang perpetrates a couple more heists, FBI agent Jon Hamm is hot on their trail and that's where the script problems begin to sap the tension. Right off, seeing Renner's tightly-wound robber, you're on safe ground to assume he's not going to end up dying of old age and when Affleck is forced into doing the One Last BIG Job, all that is unknown is how he's going to end up - dead or alive or imprisoned or miserable or some combo of those. (If you're surprised about what happens with the run-down hockey rink, you really need to have you're diapers changed because you're about two years old and shouldn't be watching these kinds of movies.)

While the script with two other writers is meh, Affleck really shows solid directorial chops. The crimes and chases are clear and kinetic, not marred with tired shaky-cam and spastic editing. All the performances are solid, including his and Gossip Girl wet blanket Blake Lively as Renner's slutty, druggy sister, and he keeps the pace and tension taut. It's just that caper flick formula is so second nature that it's too bad that he didn't subvert any of our expectations in the storytelling. No matter how intense things may get, we're pretty sure we know how things will pan out and they do.

Score: 7/10. Rent the DVD.


Anonymous said...

You should check out the 'extended' version, with an extra 25 or so minutes. Most of the footage is nice but not particularly necessary, but there is one scene with Affleck & Renner as they discuss what will happen if the big heist goes bad which had a key chunk edited out. That excised chunk really changes Renner's character, and portrays him in a much more sympathetic light.

Post a Comment

DirkFlix. Copyright 2010-2015 Dirk Omnimedia Inc. All rights reserved.
Free WordPress Themes Presented by EZwpthemes.
Bloggerized by Miss Dothy