Ben Affleck has had one of the most up and down careers in Hollywood.With a great career in the '90s featuring films like Good Will Hunting, Affleck hit rock bottom with his film Gigli. The Town is his first 'great' movie in a long time.
Affleck has really developed as an actor over the past few years and his performance in The Town is really solid. He portrays Doug MacRay, a bank robber in Charlestown, Boston. According to the intro, crime is a career handed down from father to son. Doug is looking to get out of this pattern and "leave this whole f***in town in my rear view".
The film opens with a view of the Bunker Hill memorial site. After this it quickly moves into a bank robbery scene where Doug, James (Jeremy Renner) and two of their accomplices rob a bank dressed in skeleton masks. They take the manager hostage and Doug begins following her around after the event to ensure she didn’t see anything that could give them to the feds. He begins to date her and really likes her, seeing her as his future after crime. James, on the other hand, is a rebellious criminal who thinks that the bank manager Claire (Rebecca Hall, Vicky Christina Barcelona) needs a good ‘scare’.
James is acted wonderfully by Jeremy Renner, worlds apart from his role in The Hurt Locker, Renner manages to portray James perfectly, making the audience nervous almost every time he is on screen, yet at the same time we don’t hate him.
The plot does get more elaborate as more characters are introduced. These include Doug’s girlfriend in his criminal life (Blake Lively) and the FBI agent hunting Doug and his team (Jon Hamm). The script isn’t as good as that of Good Will Hunting, but it does a good job in characterization and explaining the lives of criminals in Charlestown, while keeping it all very entertaining.
The Town is Ben Affleck’s brainchild; he co-wrote, directed and starred in the movie. He handles it all very well, each aspect being tended to with care, resulting in a solid film. As a director, Affleck is turning out to be very talented. I haven’t seen Gone Baby Gone yet, but after this film I have to go rent it. Affleck can shoot the hell out of car chase, and other action scenes, while still keeping attention to the story and actors. This is one of my requirements for a great movie. All of this combined with the amazing acting of Jeremy Renner and the other co-stars is why I rank this film 5 out of 5 stars.