Cast: Ben Affleck, Rebecca Hall
Direction: Ben Affleck
Ben Affleck’s second directorial effort (after his 2008 mystery thriller, Gone Baby Gone , as yet unreleased here) is a compelling crime drama set in a gritty neighbourhood of Boston where, according to the opening titles, more bank robberies take place than anywhere else in the U.S.
Besides taking his talents behind the camera, Affleck also carries the burden of the somewhat conventional storyline on his shoulders. He portrays the leader of a small crew of crooks who pull off a series of armoured heists. After the gang’s latest robbery goes awry, they take a bank manager (Hall, the gorgeous British actress from Vicky Cristina Barcelona) hostage, but later set her free, unharmed.
Cut to a dogged F.B.I. agent (Jon Hamm) who’s determined to apprehend the defiant criminals. Several ingenious twists, including a budding romance between the hostage and her former captor, lend an extra fillip to the tried and tested cops-versus-criminals scenario.>b1
Based on a bestselling pulp fiction, The Town explores the conflicting emotions of the characters as they struggle to adjust to volatile new situations. The dialogue-driven screenplay, co-written by Affleck himself, propels the narrative to an unexpectedly poignant climax.
Vignettes of life in Boston’s blue-collar community are infused with authenticity. Moreover, the rough-and-tumble action and chase sequences are skillfully choreographed. Last year’s Best Actor Oscar nominee Jeremy Renner (The Hurt Locker) as a trigger-happy felon and Blake Lively as a drug-addled single mom are particularly persuasive.
Atmospheric, intelligent and absorbing, The Town is a winner. Go for it.