Movie Review: The Town

In determining if The Town, the latest picture penned and directed by Ben Affleck, is for you, you’ll need to ask yourself what it is that you’re exactly looking for in a movie. If you’re hoping to fill your two hours with action, violence and enough special effects to make The Matrix look like The Mickey Mouse Club, you might want to just go ahead and see Inception for the fifth time. Now don’t get me wrong. This isn’t because The Town lacks adventure. In fact, it’s quite the opposite. The three robbery scenes the movie depicts are relatively calculated and painted with an acute attention to detail. However, going in to the film, die-hard fans should know, your ticket buys you just as much Good Will Hunting as Goodfellas.

That’s right kids. The Town doubles as a date flick.
Realistically speaking, the criminal aspects of The Town tend to take a backseat to the sociology occurrences of the character’s lives. It’s focus lingers heavily on the subcultures of Southern Boston’s Irish -American community, often referred to as townies. The plots linger in and out of Doug MacRay’s (Affleck) failures to leave Charlestown due to a shaky Hockey career and his great desire to find a second chance to leave his past and neighborhood behind. To fund this escape, MacRay and a team of townie goons rob a handful of banks with pinpoint precision. However, MacRay’s counterparts tend to lean more towards ego and anger than intelligence, often leaving the group in sticky situations. The most important of these conflicts comes with the kidnapping of a bank’s assistant branch manager, Claire Keesey (Rebecca Hall) who happens to live in Charlestown herself. MacRay spends significant time hanging out with Keesey in order to monitor the situation. However, with time, they end up falling in love.

MacRay proves himself more than simply a Charlestown thug throughout the movie, delivering compassionate lines and charming banter no different than that of any of his View Askew pictures. He separates himself from the other characters in the flick by shelving the resentment and aggression of possessing less of a life than once imagined. The story presents several flawless examples of this throughout the picture such as James Coughlin (Jerermy Renner) and Krista Coughlin’s (Blake Lively) resentment toward MacRay for his desire to leave Charlestown. The envy eventually eats up Krista Coughlin, causing her betrayal of MacRay and his boys, which include her own brother.

If I had to complain about anything, I believe my only demand would be for depth of the minor characters. For example, in several scenes throughout the film, James Coughlin’s character shows a massive, uncontrolled anger which tends to range into damaging violence. However, while the violence itself manages to play a major role in the plot and course of the film, it is never revealed where exactly the aggression stems from. I personally feel as though the film might have gathered a little more character creditability had the audience been given a fair chance to relate to them. Many of the story’s characters are nothing more than prop men regardless of their significant roles in the film.

However, if anything The Town proves that Affleck can absolutely be a contender as both a writer and a director. His dialog is crisp and his creations are extremely believable. That accountability is something to be proud of in today’s movie industry.

I give The Town 4 “Out of Boston Red Sox Jerseys” out of 5

by Joshua Hammond

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