Wednesday, December 14, 2011

The Town

There's a certain quality to movies about tough guys in Boston that can't be put into words. It's an Irish American display of brotherhood with a sweet accent. And I guess I have a soft spot for it. The Town (Ben Affleck, 2010) emulates this trait well. But the film proved a little lackluster for my taste.

It's a common tale: Ben Affleck is a bank robber who meets a girl and decides to get out of the business. But, his partners, Jeremy Renner and Pete Postlethwaite, won't let him go so easily. The film does have a nice twist in that the love interest, played by Rebecca Hall, was actually the hostage from the robbery that opens the film. The complex relationship that develops actually had some nice moments and the scenes between Affleck and Hall weren't as unbearable as I would have imagined.

As commendable as these moments were, there just wasn't enough emotion throughout the film from the supporting cast. Jeremy Renner had a few scenes that stood out; his character, in general was interesting. He becomes more and more engrossed by crime and his violent outbursts proved to be entertaining. The other bright spot came from Jon Hamm, who plays the FBI agent tracking the robberies. He stepped up and  delivered his lines with the correct amount of attitude and badassery.

Also, there was a distinct lacking in scenes with Blake Lively, who was top billed when the film was being promoted. But that soon became clear after watching her introduction into the movie. Despite some of the best emotional moments stemming from her character, she was altogether sleazy and unlikeable. There was also the fact that, given her horrible Boston accent, you couldn't understand half of what she was saying. I suppose there was much more of her in the film (her sex appeal is, after all, a huge selling point of the film). But I can fully understand why Ben Affleck felt she didn't need as prominent a role.

Ultimately, this film is nothing new for Affleck. He has played the tough guy with a heart of gold before, and he'll likely do it again. He plays it well, and his direction in his second full-length feature was above average. His almost romantic depiction of Boston proved effective when clashed with gunfire and chase scenes. The Town is definitely an entertaining film. It just lacks some of the ingredients that shine in films of its class.


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