STARRING: BEN AFFLECK, JEREMY RENNER, REBECCA HALL, JON HAMM, BLAKE LIVELY, TITUS WELLIVER, PETE POSTLETHWAITE, SLAINE AND CHRIS COOPER
In only his second feature film as director (having previously shared writing credits with Matt Damon for the 1997 Gus Van Sant venture ‘Good Will Hunting’), Ben Affleck looks to take the place of the undisputed crime lord of Hollywood and could even land it in the time to come, what with the pace he’s cruising in. With a reputation to do whatever he does in a way that might not necessarily be called ‘characteristic’ (although there are fingerprints all over this film), he still manages to thrust a level of intelligence and emotional intensity, a deadly combo when it comes to the avid film viewer – one that can potentially turn a remote action thriller to an incredibly substantial crime drama.
But is ‘the Town’ just that? I mean, Hollywood has forever been the place for felons, multiple takes on heist-movies and has seen the likes of Scorsese, Coppola and De Palma. What more does this film have (other than being an intense revisit to the genre) to substantiate itself as a film to remember? Well, the packaging, for one. Subtly written, never boring and gripping one through the 124 minutes that constitute it, ‘the Town’ also finds itself empowered by its actors. At the front is a certain Jeremy Renner, never hear before a year before and now he carries a film on his shoulders, what does it matter if he’s got support! Rebecca Hall leaves a convincing mark on the viewer’s mind with her ‘not so new’ portrayal of Claire Keesey, a bank manager who’s shaken to the bone by the disturbing incidents of the crime in question. Jon Hamm leads the opposition as Agent Adam Frawley, strongly set, has a head on his shoulders and there’s the ever-dependent Chris Cooper who’s given the role of a father this time – if ever a person can stun with a phonecall from the other side!
As successor to the crushing ‘Gone Baby Gone’ that he directed in 2007, Affleck opts to dabble a little more this time with his directorial skills, upping activity levels with sheer rawness in his action sequences, achieving required emotions through audacity. There’s immense set-detailing, more on the metal front and an awful lot of cars getting crushed to drive it in. But where I felt ‘the Town’ to succeed the most is in the fact that it takes a hold of its loose ends and ties it into a loop. Like Krista Coughlin (Blake Lively) for example, who is cheekily intended to be a reminder of Doug Macray’s tragic childhood and of the ruins of his now-broken father. And then there’s the refrain that leaves one with a smile on his face and a thought in his head that’s crystal clear and says, “Damn. This guy knows his stuff!”
One of the best wide-releases of 2010 in an armoured tin-can with a heck of a heart. And not to mention, a promise for more.