Plot synopsis (from the studio): As he plans his next job that could result in his gang’s biggest score ever, a longtime thief plans his way out of the life and the town while dodging the FBI agent looking to bring him and his bank-robbing crew down. In addition the heading an electrifying cast, Ben Affleck also directed and co-wrote this suspenseful, critically-acclaimed crime thriller that unfolds — and often explodes — across gritty Boston locations. Rebecca Hall, Jon Hamm, Jeremy Renner, Blake Lively, Titus Welliver, Pete Postlethwaite, and Chris Cooper also star.
Warning: Spoilers below!
- Ben Affleck’s acting career has been all over the place, but I think he is a terrific director. He doesn’t surprise you with his choices (like Tarantino or the Coens might), but he is a technically sound storyteller that manages to hit the right notes throughout the entire film.
- Jeremy Renner was about as good in this as he was in Hurt Locker, despite playing vastly different characters. He is quickly becoming one of my favorite actors. I hope he continues to make smart role choices and doesn’t just go for a huge payday with some brainless action flick.
- I liked that it turned out the florist was calling all (or most of) the shots. This made it easier to believe that Doug actually was a decent human being beneath the thug exterior and that he really was capable of changing.
- I loved that Claire signaled to Doug to stay away because of the FBI. Sure, the scene was reminiscent of Heat, but I liked it nonetheless. Doug clearly wasn’t going to get trapped anyway, because he could see exactly what was going on, but it was extremely important that he know Claire still cared for him even just a little.
- Robbing Fenway Park? Wow, how could those guys ever think a plan like that would work??? But it was an original one, as far as films go. Usually the big score is a bank, armored truck, jewelry store, art gallery, etc. I don’t think an iconic sports stadium has ever been the primary target before!
- The Boston accents were highly distracting. I understand having the characters speak that way lends an air of authenticity to the film, but there in several scenes, it was incredibly difficult to figure out what was being said. The accents just got in the way. I finally had to turn subtitles on and read the damn dialogue.
- I thought Doug’s escape was a bit too easy. I knew from the start that he would get away (that’s why the film was told from his point of view, not Jon Hamm’s), but didn’t think it would be as easy as hopping on a train and making it to Florida. His mug would be all over the wires, especially since the FBI was already involved and federal agents were killed during the attempted robbery. Growing a mountain man beard wasn’t going to be enough to put everyone off the trail.
- Some parts of the film were predictable and formulaic. For example, if there’s a shootout before the halfway point, you can bet none of the major characters will get hit, making those scenes feel like a waste of time. Also, since Jem and Doug were the only two guys from the gang that had substantial roles, you could tell that the lesser gang members would get shot first during the final stand against law enforcement. And of course the crazy-ass Jem would go down shooting in a suicide-by-cop scene. I know this movie was based on a book, so I’m not exactly blaming Affleck for this, but still…
- I didn’t like Titus Welliver in this because to me he will always be the Man in Black (from Lost). I know, this is wholly on me, not the actor, but I still felt obligated to throw it out there.
The Town received very positive critical reviews, so I was expecting a great movie — and I got one. Despite the sometimes formulaic nature of the plot, the characters, acting, and directing really make this film worth watching. I give it 4 stars out of 5.