September 29, 2010
Posted by on
Ben Affleck is quickly becoming one of my favorite directors. He understands nuance and subtlety. Unlike many other actor-directors, he focuses on making rich characters out of the script. With a supporting cast that is too good to be true, The Town easily becomes the best heist film in a long time.
The film has two plots going on. The one that gets the most attention is Doug MacRay (Affleck) and his band of heist brothers. We watch them as they scheme, rob, and live in uncomfortable ease. How can guys these talented live so comfortably? The other story is FBI agent Frawley (Jon Hamm) as he builds a case and tries to bring Doug and his boys down. For a cat and mouse movie, it’s unusual but original in how Frawley and MacRay never have the big climatic confrontation. In fact, the brief interrogation scene is the only time these characters ever interact directly.Frawley finds his in from a hostage of one of their heists played by Rebecca Hall. She starts the movie as a victim but ends up way more involved than she could have expected.
All the acting is great. Jeremy Renner and Pete Postlethwaite (and very briefly Chris Cooper) round out a solid cast. Everyone explores their characters and brings all of them to life. The biggest surprise is Blake Lively as Renner’s James’ sister. The script gets a bit thin at the end of the second act, but the third pick up the slack. A solid heist movie that is sure to be mentioned around Oscar time. And deservedly so. 3.5 out of 5 stars