Saturday, January 15, 2011

The Town

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.

9 comments:

PAUL BISHOP said...

I had given this one a pass, but based on your review I think we'll take a chance on the DVD versoion...

Anonymous said...

We also enjoyed it, James. Thanks for the review.

Ed Lynskey

MP said...

A really good movie, one of last year's best. "Gone, Baby, Gone" was good enough to attract attention to Affleck as a director, but this one really puts him on the map. Some seemed to think John Hamm was wooden as the FBI agent, but I thought he did a good job. It's going to take a while, though, for him to step out of the shadow of Don Draper.

James Reasoner said...

We never watched MAD MEN other than the first episode (didn't care for it, and I couldn't really say why; I felt like I should have liked it), so I thought Hamm was fine in this one.

bobby v. said...

This is a great movie. One of my faves....another good one is "The Fighter" Christian Bale will win best supporting actor.

Iren said...

I also thought it was really good, not only for it's connection to Eddie Coyle, but it is another film in the Affleck cannon where he plays someone who is on the edge of making a change in his life.

One of the actors who isn't getting a lot of attention is Titus Welliver who plays the cop working with Hamm. I also dig Renner and recommend not only the Hurt Locker, but the TV series The Unusuals he did the and he is really good in the episode of House that he stared in.

pattinase (abbott) said...

I liked it a lot too but I don't see how they pulled off their final heist on such short notice. But on the whole, a good one. Looking forward to seeing him in THE COMPANY>

James Reasoner said...

THE UNUSUALS was a pretty good cop show. Shame it didn't catch on.

Terrill Lee Lankford said...

I liked this flick better when it was called HEAT. This movie owes a lot to Michael Mann.