I’ve always kind of liked Ben Affleck as an actor, and we watched his directorial debut, GONE, BABY, GONE a couple of years ago and I found some things to like in it. But THE TOWN, a cops-vs-armed-robbers yarn directed, co-written by, and starring Affleck, is a big step up. He plays the leader of a four-man crew in Boston that specializes in armored car robberies and the occasional bank job. His childhood friend, played by Jeremy Renner, is part of the crew as well, and the relationship between them is central to this film when they clash over some fallout from the heist that opens the movie.
At the same time, an FBI task force headed by an agent played by Jon Hamm is on the trail of Affleck, Renner, and their partners, and there are a couple of beautiful women involved, and things keep getting more complicated when the guys are forced into a last big job . . .
THE TOWN is a really, really good film, one of the best I’ve seen lately, with some nice twists and turns in the plot and several suspenseful, well-staged shootouts and action scenes. It’s based on the novel PRINCE OF THIEVES by Chuck Hogan, an author I haven’t read, but based on this adaptation, maybe I should give his books a try. The acting is top-notch all around (although I was never really able to accept Blake Lively as a slutty Boston gun moll – really, S., what would B. say?), and Affleck and Hamm do such good jobs as opposite numbers that you really don’t know who to root for. Renner is always good, and in this movie he kept reminding me of Jimmy Cagney, of all people. In fact, in many ways THE TOWN is reminiscent of a Thirties gangster picture with its tough guys and complicated relationships. Dang, now I want to watch THE ROARING TWENTIES again.
Overall, I have to give THE TOWN a high recommendation. If you like heist movies, you really should watch it.