The Town (2010) Review

The Town (2010)
Director: Ben Affleck
Screenwriters: Peter Craig, Ben Affleck, Aaron Stockard
Starring: Ben Affleck, Rebecca Hall, Jon Hamm, Jeremy Renner

This Ben Affleck-directed picture really suffers from an identity crisis, yet you’ll be oddly enthralled.

The Town (2010), is one part heist movie and one part romantic drama, and it’s this odd mesh of styles and stories that makes it as enticing as it is unusual, in no small due to some very smart storytelling from sophomore director Ben Affleck.

The Town instantly thrusts you into the action of a bank robbery, with the focus being set solely on the manager of whom Ben Affleck falls for when following her as a part of his post-job “insurance policy”. From there, parallels in the humanity and inhumanity of Affleck (the bank robber) and Jon Hamm (the FBI agent) provide an intriguing back drop for a feature-length game of cat and mouse.

This story arc is positively enthralling, with the personal relationship between Affleck’s character Doug MacRay and Jeremy Renner’s James Coughlin stretching thinner as a result. It is here that the movie truly shines as it is Renner’s performance that truly stands out from the pack. Renner’s hard-headed, borderline psychotic best friend character is one that is hard to feel empathy towards – which is important with regard to establishing the differences in criminality between MacRay and others – and is ultimately the largest force of emotion in the picture. This does, then, eliminate the “love interest” story arc from the top of the list of what is good and right about the film, and with good reason.

The “love interest” angle was a sweet disposition to juxtapose against the violent lifestyle of MacRay, but it was unfortunately the absolute epitome of melodrama in a picture that clearly didn’t need the angle. In this regard, The Town’s romantic scenes should be seen merely as idealistic from the point of view of MacRay and not at all as realistic and insightful as the rest of the film.

Overall, this is a good movie, but nothing more. It’s enticing, with a sensational Jeremy Renner performance and efficient direction from Affleck, but it’s not going to hook you quite as much as the next heist film because of its lack of a clear identity. Unfortunately, this also removes it from the realm of “ultimate love story” too, despite how the closing credits music may try to convince you otherwise.

Score: 15/24

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