The Town (2010)
By: Victor Takac on March 17, 2011  | 
Warner Brothers | Region 4, PAL | 2.40:1 (16:9 enhanced) | English DD 5.1 | 120 minutes (Full Specs)
The Movie
Cover Art
Director: Ben Affleck
Starring: Ben Affleck, Rebecca Hall, Jeremy Renner, Jon Hamm, Blake Lively, Slaine
Screenplay: Peter Craig, Ben Affleck
Country: USA
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The fact that The Town is a brilliant film is in direct contrast of the fact that it was written and directed by Ben Affleck. Affleck is not exactly known for his directorial skills, and with only a handful of writing credits under his belt he isn't someone I'd expect to write one of the best thrillers I've seen all year.

The Town's plot begins relatively simplly The premise is that of a group of professional, masked bank robbers who happen to make a mistake on their latest bank heist. Unbeknownst to them, after releasing their hostage (Claire Keesey, played by Rebecca Hall) they find out that she lives in their neighbourhood. Though they were masked, this could pose as a problem.

The only way to get around this is for one of them to get close to her. Affleck's Doug MacRay volunteers for the job, and slowly begins to get closer and closer to her. Inevitably, a relationship forms between the two, and complications arise as MacRay tries to hide it from the rest of the group in order to protect her. Meanwhile, the FBI begins to catch wind of this growing relationship, and lead detective Adam Frawley (Jon Hamm) begins to get suspicious as MacReady is one of the chief suspects.

Affleck has created a film which features excellent heist scenes that look superb. Though what really makes them so effective is the interactions between the characters. The authentic setting and dialogue is exactly what you'd expect from a group of Irish-American bank robbers from Boston. It is this authenticity, especially when it comes to the thick accents and dialect that really draws the viewer into these individuals' lives.

The acting is generally top-notch, though a few stand out and give really exceptional performances. Ben Affleck plays his role straight, and is ultimately a sympathetic anti-hero. There are moments when you genuinely feel for his predicament. He wants to be in a relationship with Claire, but he can't let her find out that it was he that kidnapped her. This is easily Affleck at his best. Unfortunately though, there are certain scenes where his accent, mixed with his looks, he unintentionally sounds like and resembles Adam Sandler. Though these moments aren't common, they do detract from the role.

The real star here though is Jeremy Renner as James Coughlin, MacRays childhood friend. Coughlin is also a part of the heist group, though unlike the others, he simply can't wait to get violent. Renner steals every scene he's in with his energetic and frightening performance. Though not quite as good as Affleck and Renner, John Hamm also puts in a brilliant performance and it's good to see him break away from his role as Don Draper on Mad Men and do something drastically different. Hopefully The Town will show people that he has the potential and ability to work on films, not just television.

Though the film has been unfairly compared to Scorsese's The Departed, there is more to it than that. Both films share complicated plots that weave in and out between the characters lives and relationships. They both have an intricate cat and mouse game playing out between the robbers and the FBI, and most importantly they both portray an authentic look at Irish-American crime families in the Boston area. Ultimately though, The Town's unique characters, and narrative give it its own personality and Ben Affleck has finally made a film worthy of a re-watch.
The 2.40:1 aspect ratio looks great on a big HD Television. The dull palette of the film looks sharp and works extremely well with the setting.
The Dolby Digital 5.1 is used to its full potential and sounds great. Most noticeable during the heist scenes, and during the shootouts. The language is in English, though the extreme Boston accents and dialect can be a bit hard to understand at times.
Extra Features
There's a big lack of special features here as all that is provided is a 3 minute behind the scenes featurette, and a 7 minute featurette on Ben Affleck. Something more substantial would have definitely been a plus. It looks like there is more to the short 3 minute featurette, but for some reason they have decided not to add it.
The Verdict
The Town is easily a highpoint in Ben Afflecks career, and is one of the best heist films to come out in years. The film just begs for a re-watch though the lack of any substantial features is a bit a disappointing.
Movie Score
Disc Score
Overall Score

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