Sunday, December 19, 2010

The Town (2010)

Movie quotes:
Doug MacRay: I need your help. I can't tell you what it is, you can never ask me about it later, and we're gonna hurt some people.
James Coughlin: ...Whose car we takin'?

At a glance:
Ben Afflect directs and stars in this effective Boston-based bank robber tale

Our review (with spoilers):
It’s difficult to take an action film about four tough guys from Boston who rob banks and meld it with elements of poetry, beauty, and love, but actor/director/co-writer Ben Affleck accomplishes this. He casts and directs himself as Doug, the gang leader who is all shades of gray. He has no qualms about stealing from banks and vans, but he tries to do it without hurting anyone. At the same time, he tolerates Jim (Jeremy Renner), whose violent fuse seems to erupt every time they pull a job. There are good reasons why Doug tolerates Jim. In fact, the hallmark of this script, where characters sometimes seem to be out of character, is the care in formulating a reason for this. For example, after the first bank job, Doug protects the bank manager, Claire (Rebecca Hall) from the harassment she would endure if Jim is allowed to pursue that loose end. Doug goes much further than that, and soon he and Claire are in a serious relationship.

Pursuing the thieves is a relentless FBI agent Adam Frawley (Jon Hamm), who is a tough guy in his own right. The script presents a series of mini-battles and conflicts between Adam and Doug, Doung and Jim, Doug and Claire, Doug and Fergus (Pete Postlethwaite, playing a local tough guy), and Doug and his incarcerated father (Chris Cooper, in a small but effective role). This is a stellar cast, circling around a solid performance by Affleck, who proves that his earlier directorial success with Gone Baby Gone was not a fluke.

Rating: 3.5 of 4

Other reviewers said:
"In lesser hands, the central relationship might not have worked; but Affleck and Hall make it completely believable, adding to the texture of this classy thriller."
- David Stratton (At the Movies)

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