Keven Takes On: THE TOWN
Published: September 19, 2010 - 1:52pm
I had high expectations going into Ben Affleck's second directorial effort. I expected big things because I've seen his first film, Gone Baby Gone and I know that the guy is capable of creating amazing movies. The Town not only met my standards, it smashed them into delicious pieces.
The Town, which may seem like a copout of a movie title, is short for Charlestown, Boston - which apparently is home to most of the United States' bank robbers. So I can forgive the plain as day name. Ben Affleck stars alongside another Academy Award nominated actor, Jeremy Renner with some fantastic support via Jon Hamm. Renner is the loose cannon of the thieves crew and Affleck of course is the level headed one with a guilty conscience. Hamm plays an FBI agent who is hot on their tails. That's The Town in a nutshell.
What makes the movie work wonderfully though is the writing. Affleck is a genius. Now - if I would have one complaint about The Town, it's that Affleck is directing Affleck, written by Affleck and the movie sort of transforms into an Academy Award vehicle for none other than - Affleck. Normally I'd be pissed at the shameless plugging, but he does such a great job I have to forgive him. Sure he's the front and center of what could have easily been an ensemble piece, but that's not to say he isn't fleshing out the supporting cast. Although they have much less screen time, Renner, Hamm, Blake Lively and Rebecca Hall all give such great performances it's hard to bash Affleck for not giving us a little more backstory. Although we don't follow these people into more private moments - it's in their dialogue that we get a great sense of who they are.
Obvious comparisons to Michael Mann's Heat are going to be very apparent - but that's fine with me. It's with just cause. The heist sequences are the best I've seen other than anything Christopher Nolan has done recently - but he's working with a massive budget. The Town is not an action-gasm fest either, but when those robbery scenes are unleashed, they deliver - big time.
Renner gives such a great supporting performance I have to wonder if the Academy will look at The Town and go "Oh snap - that's The Hurt Locker guy isn't it? I think we messed up." Hamm doesn't have as much screen time, but I can certainly see what all the hype is about, the guy plays a great foil to our team of hooligans and even though he's most certainly not put in such a shining light as Affleck and troops, I can sympathize his cause.
The Town is very much all about subtleties and pacing. Most movies like this don't give you the payoff in the end and that's sad. What I like about Affleck is that so far both of his directorial efforts not only deliver throughout, but the endings make me smile and both for completely different reasons. The Town is a must-see and I wouldn't be surprised if Affleck finally gets his own nod come award time in 2011. He deserves it.
Here's the trailer for The Town, currently in theaters: