After a string of box office failures actor Ben Affleck needed a circuit breaker. He found this by directing with his debut ‘Gone Baby Gone’ becoming a sterling piece of work. His career resurgence continues with The Town in which he acts as well as directs. Showing an excellent mastery of both, his tale of redemption and new beginnings is one Matt Damon’s best buddy can certainly find much in common.
While partaking in a bank robbery for criminal kingpin Fergie (Pete Postlethwaite), Doug (Ben Affleck) comes across bank teller Claire (Rebecca Hall). Instantly smitten he begins a relationship with her and plans on leaving his crooked life behind. This isn’t so easy when friends such as James (Jeremy Renner) continue to insist on his involvement in further heists. With FBI Agent Frawley (Jon Hamm) also gunning for him, Doug’s dreams of retreating from his old ways seem as enclosed as the insular Boston town where he waywardly exists.
Raised in the area in which The Town is situated, Affleck’s personal touch ensures a sense of place is created. The city seems to have a life of its own with its rough neighbourhoods shown in all their glory. This authenticity extends to the actor’s rendering of their working class characters with their specific dialects evoking the melting pot of personalities breathing life into Boston’s dark burrows. Their performances conjure genuine realism in a film also thriving due to its tightly scripted action and menacing atmosphere.
These elements help define Doug’s reasons for leaving this world behind. Learning he has a choice in starting a better life and not become further trapped in a spiral of violence cause his friends to question his loyalty. Their responses and Claire’s reaction to the bank robbery finally makes him understand the consequences of his illicit deeds. In making peace with his past and fractured upbringing can he find the courage to move on – something Affleck conveys with proficient aptitude.
Resembling the sort of movie Hollywood used to produce in the 70’s, The Town is a fine urban drama. It furthers demonstrates Affleck’s ability in creating an engrossing production where a career behind the camera may be the more fruitful endeavour.
Movie Review Rating 8 / 10
Movie Review by Patrick Moore
The Town released in Australia on Thursday 14 October 2010.
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Patrick Moore's Movie Review is an alternative look at current movie releases in Australia.