Saturday, January 14, 2017

Movie Review: THE TOWN

Welcome back to the Ben Affleck mini-series of reviews! This series will review each of his four directorial feature films. This review will focus on his second directorial effort, THE TOWN!

The Town is Ben Affleck’s second film and brings him back to Boston (or Charlestown more precisely) as the story follows a group of bank robbers doing jobs in the Boston area when one falls in love and is ready to get out entirely. Affleck also stars in the film alongside Jeremy Renner, Rebecca Hall, Jon Hamm, and Blake Lively.

This film is brilliant and showcases why Affleck isn’t just a good director, but a great one. It has incredibly visceral action, a well assembled and organized ensemble, and a compelling narrative from start to finish. Both in front of and behind the camera Affleck shines in this film and proves that he really can do it all transforming into this tough Charlestown-gangster character for the film but also having a soft side as his character transforms within the movie.

The supporting performances in this film are also knockout brilliant. Jeremy Renner in particular shines as a kind of aggressive and spastic member of the crew with his own past and agenda that works so perfectly in adding a flavor and fascination to the film. Rebecca Hall is also serviceable in her role. There is one particular turning point where I thought she did a good job but was otherwise ok. Jon Hamm also did a good job in the film. I thought that when he was doing his most prominent acting moments he stood out, although he did have a Boston accent that faded in and out at random.

Beyond the direction, performances, and characters, this film is just fundamentally (and unapologetically) cool. The scenes have an incredibly gritty realism but also a fantastical sense of intrigue from the costumes and such that make it just a joy to watch. Each set piece is filled with tense moments as well as interesting things going on throughout.

I have almost no qualms with The Town except to say that I didn’t connect with its central conflict on any kind of emotional level and I found Hall’s character to just sort of be ok.

The Town is excellent and is a directorial masterstroke from Affleck. The film is smartly written, well directed and performed, as well as tonnes of fun to watch and enjoy. Definitely a must-see film!

Ryan’s Score: 9/10

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