Affleck’s ‘The Town’ just another crime drama
Ben Affleck returns to the director’s chair for “The Town,” which opened last weekend to mixed reviews and a big profit, making $8 million on its first night alone.
The film stars Affleck as the leader of a group of bank robbers in Boston, “the bank robbery capital of America.” The opening bank heist leads to a getaway involving a captured-then-released hostage (played by Rebecca Hall) whom Affleck’s character checks up on after the robbery. What follows is a fairly predictable heist movie with a persevering F.B.I. agent played by Jon Hamm.
Having not read the book upon which the movie was based, Prince of Thieves by Chuck Hogan, the movie came across as a decent crime thriller with intense action sequences. The adapted screenplay was written by Ben Affleck, Aaron Stockard and Peter Craig and maintains viewers’ interest overall. The eventual relationship that ensues between Affleck and Hall, the oblivious ex-hostage, leads to the inevitable concept of redemption in starting a new life.
Along with the adaption of Dennis Lehane’s “Gone, Baby, Gone,” Affleck has proven himself a capable director. The overall themes of the movie, however, bring Good Will Hunting to mind with Affleck as the leading man wanting to leave Boston, guns, the fake occupation of breaking rocks and, of course, robbing banks. The only difference is that he does not differ from others in the group, as he is an ex-drug addict who chose to be more like his convicted father. In other words, it seems “The Town” could be considered an extremely unofficial sequel to Good Will Hunting showing what might have happened with Affleck after Matt Damon’s character left.
The casting was fitting and the actors’ performances were well-executed. Jeremy Renner delivers an erratic performance as Affleck’s best friend and fellow thief, Chris Cooper plays Affleck’s dad who is in prison with family secrets, and Pete Postlethwaite plays the malevolent provider of jobs that the band of thieves carry out. Jon Hamm plays “the bad guy,” when in all actuality, he is the good guy trying to bring down the gang of thieves.
Many heist movies have come to be iconic through both the caliber of the film and the masks worn by theives, including the hockey masks in “Heat” and the rubber president masks in “Point Break”. This movie does have such iconic disguises — nun masks, along with dark skull masks — but “The Town” doesn’t quite own up to being memorable; it makes for a predictable crime thriller that is worth renting on DVD.