Friday, October 1, 2010

‘The Town’ more than just crime drama

Set against the background of the historical Boston suburb Charleston, Ben Affleck's, "The Town," offers a gritty yet emotional take on the typical Boston crime drama.

"The Town" centers on the character Doug MacRay, played by Affleck, a man who's known only two things in his life: hockey and crime.

This is the second feature film to be directed by the Academy Award winning actor, the first being "Gone Baby Gone" which was released in 2007. This is the first time Affleck has worked on both sides of the camera.

"The Town" is not just a run of the mill heist movie. The main goal of the movie is not to pull off a highly complex heist as in others. Doug wants to stop his life of crime before he winds up like his father Stephen MacRay, played by Chris Cooper, who is serving multiple life sentences for an armored truck robbery gone wrong.

One of Doug's fellow gang members is his best friend James, played by Jeremy Renner.

Renner's portrayal of James seeps of someone who is addicted to the thrill that comes with robbing the banks of Boston.

He made me believe that he was a ticking time bomb, some one I wouldn't want to double cross or back into a corner.

Though they're playing best friends Affleck and Renner carry on a relationship that reflects a more brotherly quality to it, with Doug having to keep an eye on the volatile James.

Their relationship is strained when in the middle of a bank robbery, James takes a female bank employee hostage. Played by Rebecca Hall, Claire is used as potential collateral, but is later released unharmed.

After discovering that she lives only 4 blocks away from his home, Doug takes it upon himself to keep an eye on her and make sure she won't be a problem for them. But in the process he falls in love with her.

The relationship between Doug and Claire turns into a sort of romantic therapy, as Doug actually helps Claire cope with the trauma that he put her through himself.

Claire represents the life Doug dreams of having outside of Boston, while James embodies everything Doug wants to rid his life of.

Doug wants to live something resembling a normal life, one that doesn't include a FBI agent breathing down his neck.

"Mad Men" actor Jon Hamm plays the agent hunting Doug's gang. Though it's a good performance, I'm looking forward to one that doesn't remind me of his portrayal of ad man Don Drapier.

One of the few set backs "The Town" has is James' sister Krista, played by Blake Lively of "Gossip Girl" fame.

As a performance, it's a drastic change from the high society role she plays on television and is very memorable. But the problem is that her character doesn't have any real impact over the course of the movie or to Doug. She's just very annoying.

Also there were times I wasn't able to understand lines of dialogue through the thick Boston or Irish accents that some of the characters used. But it's not something that takes away from the movie.

Filled with well orchestrated action, romance, suspense and even a handful of humorous moments, "The Town" is a movie that I wouldn't be surprised if it's mentioned come time for the Oscars next year.

Affleck has the potential to be mentioned among the few actors turned accomplished director, like Clint Eastwood.

When it's all said and done, he may be remembered more for his directing than anything he's done in front of the camera.



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