Review - The Town

The Town (2010), R, 120 minutes - The Town is Ben Affleck's sophomore outing as a director and with it he proves that the ability he showed behind the camera on Gone Baby Gone was not a fluke.

Like Gone Baby Gone, The Town is a crime drama/thriller based in Affleck's hometown of Boston. This time around, Affleck focuses primarily on the criminals, their lives and their motives. Affleck joins Jeremy Renner (The Hurt Locker) as one of two primary characters who are both best friends and partners in crime.

Doug MacRay (Affleck) and James Coughlin (Renner) are residents of Charlestown, MA, which the opening of the film claims has the highest bank/armored car high jacking rate in the country. After one job, James takes a hostage (the bank's assistant manager - Claire Kessey, played by Rebecca Hall). He let's her go unhurt, but decides after wards that she may need to be 'taken care of' as it turns out she is a local resident. He's afraid that she may be able to recognize the crew around town and turn them in. The last thing that Doug wants is an innocent person being knocked off, especially because James has already done nine years in prison for a previous manslaughter conviction. He decides to look into it himself and ends up falling for Claire.

From there, The Town has a couple stereotypical plot points but it culminates in a very cool heist sequence involving Fenway Park which more than makes up for them. Jon Hamm and Chris Cooper add solid performances to the strong showings of Affleck, Renner and Hall.

The Town is easily the best heist flick in quite a while. Maybe the best since Heat (the only other one that comes to mind is 2006's Inside Man). With his second solid directorial effort, Ben Affleck is quickly making a name for himself behind the camera. He has taken an area he knows (Boston) and brought an great deal of authenticity to the stories involved.

If you like crime thrillers/heist flicks, you really shouldn't miss this one. Even if you don't, I'd say it is worth checking out. Yes, it's a heist flick, but the characters, their situations and emotions really carry the film.

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