FILM REVIEW: THE TOWN
BY GILBERTO CAMPA
Coming off his well received and spectacular directorial debut in 2007’s Gone Baby Gone, Ben Affleck was able to then craft a movie that would be very close to his heart and his home town. The Town features many elements and story beats that audiences have seen before (criminal falls in love, does one last job, etc.) but something about the film makes it stand out from the rest. Starting with the very solid cast which features Affleck, Jeremy Renner, Rebecca Hall, Jon Hamm, Chris Cooper, and Blake Lively, you know the performances were going to be special. Much of what I enjoyed about this movie was how real and brutal the robbery scenes were. It makes it look like it wasn’t necessarily filmed and that’s all kudos to Affleck the choices he made as a director. Along with the way that certain sequences, the opening scene especially, are shot and cut with special attention to how to build tension and suspense in different ways. The Town very much paints the city of Boston and the surrounding areas as its own character which helps to put you into the mindset of all the characters in the film. Even though what Douglas (Affleck) is doing is wrong he carries that regret with him and through his developing relationship with Claire (Rebecca Hall) it eventually helps him to push along in the film despite being chased by Frawley (Hamm).
Released in 2010, it still holds up very much so and feels fresh from a storytelling perspective, not one character is forgotten or wasted and a majority of the choices made in the film fit the characters perfectly. When it comes to the standouts, Jeremy Renner delivers one of the best performances of his career as Doug’s second in command Jem Coughlin. Affleck approached Renner for the role because he had faith that Renner could make this character relatable and someone that you root for even though he acts very rationally as the movie goes on. Like most characters in a movie that you aren’t really suppose to root for, you can’t help but cheer for Doug to make it out like so many criminals try to do. Without wanting to spoil it, the movie is such a great emotional train ride that it is worth the watch in that alone. The Town for represents Affleck when he is at his best creatively and you can see the detail as well as the amount of time he put into the film to make it entertaining, but also something you can learn from. It’s a shame that his last film Live by Night which was released in 2017, did not pan out the way that he and Warner Bro. had hoped due to a combination of things going on in his life. Hopes are still high once he gets the help that he needs and can go back to doing what he does best, which is to make movies as compelling and as emotionally driven as The Town.