8 ene. 2011

My Review: The Town (10/10)

¨I will see you; this side or the other. ¨

Many critics thought that Ben Affleck`s successful directorial debut in Gone Baby Gone could have to do with beginners luck, but he proved them otherwise with The Town because he has made one of the best films of the year once again. He has managed to go two for two now and is beginning to prove he may have a better career as a director than an actor. Affleck has brought us one of the best crime thrillers of the decade; I was completely hooked from the very beginning with the heist and chase scenes as well as with the characters. The movie has several tense scenes that will have you at the edge of your seat, and at the same time very well developed characters with good dialogues thanks to a smart script adapted by Affleck himself and a good performance from the entire cast. The screenplay was adapted from Chuck Hogan`s novel ¨Prince of Thieves¨ and besides Affleck, Aaron Stockard and Peter Craig collaborated with the adaptation. The screenplay was very well adapted although it differs from the novel in the ending. Affleck also stars in this film and he does a pretty good job, but who really steals the show is Jeremy Renner as the secondary character. The rest of the cast also have an above average performance: Blake Lively, Jon Hamm, Rebecca Hall, and the late Pete Postlethwaite all give very memorable performances thanks to the solid material they had to work with. Affleck seems to bring the best out of each actor as a director and he has proven he has a very promising career ahead of himself if he continues at this pace.

As in Affleck`s other film the story takes place once again in Boston. Charlestown is a neighborhood known for producing the most blue collar bank robbers in the world. Doug MacRay (Ben Affleck), James Coughlin (Jeremy Renner), Albert Magloan (Slaine), and Desmond Elden (Owen Burke) have all grown up together in Charlestown and are no exception to the rule. Together they have managed to pull off a series of armored vehicles and bank robberies throughout Boston under Doug`s leadership. They receive tips from a florist owner known as Fergie (Pete Postlethwaite) who has controlled the neighborhood for years. During their latest bank robbery things go wrong and they are forced to take the bank manager, Claire (Rebecca Hall) hostage before letting her go unharmed once they have escaped. Things begin to get complicated once James realizes that Claire lives in their same neighborhood and fears she might have seen something. Doug decides to follow her around to make sure she doesn`t suspect anything and in doing so they begin to develop a friendship. James would much rather get rid of her because he doesn`t want to risk their cover, but Doug has fallen for her and wants to change his life around. Doug will soon discover that getting out of a life of crime will be more difficult than he ever could have imagined. Doug`s other concern is that the FBI is close on their tail and they are receiving a lot of heat from S.A. Adam Frawley (Jon Hamm) and his partner Dino (Titus Welliver).

The Town is a very tense and gripping movie that manages to balance well crafted suspenseful crime scenes with well developed characters and a good script that adds some emotional drama to the action sequences. It is hard to avoid comparisons between this movie and Michael Mann`s Heat since every successful crime film can be compared to that one, the best of its genre. Ben Affleck is turning into a great director and is perhaps doing something similar for Boston to what Woody Allen and Spike Lee do for New York. There is no denying Affleck also has talent as a screenwriter since he won an Oscar for his work with Matt Damon in Good Will Hunting, and Gone Baby Gone was also a really good adaptation. Crime thrillers are one of my favorite genres in film and it has been awhile since I have enjoyed one as much as I did with The Town. It has great action scenes that feel real and interesting characters. Jeremy Renner is really on a hot streak following up on his Oscar nominated performance for The Hurt Locker. In this movie he is once again the highlight of the film. Blake Lively also gave a terrific performance as an alcoholic and drug addict mother from Charlestown who has a casual relationship with Doug. Her Boston accent was right on the mark. The entire cast was great in this film. I really enjoyed this film and consider it to be one of the best of 2010 along with Inception.

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