Friday, October 1, 2010

"The Town" Review

I remember the first time I saw the trailer for The Town and thought to myself, WOW! Now, granted trailers aren't exactly the most accurate way to judge a film, but this one was good, really good. Ben Affleck directs and stars in the film about bank robbers. Let's jump right in.

What I liked about the movie:
The Story/Characters
I'm a sucker for heist movies, I have to admit. But what I hate is when a writer or director plays on all the cliches from movies in the past. This movie does not do that. It's an original story with original characters. Each character is an intricate part of the movie. There are no wasted characters, no wasted plot points.

Peter Craig, Ben Affleck and Aaron Stockard weave together a fascinating story about friends, loyalty, trust, respect and most of all, money. Without giving much away, the movie breaks down into three major action sequences with obvious character development in between. But The Town does something very elegantly. It not only makes us care about the criminals, but the FBI agents tracking them as well.


Acting
The acting in the film was great. Ben Affleck showed off the emotional chops needed to play a troubled lead. He has to portray someone who is lost; his mother abandoned him as child, his father's in jail and he wants out of the family business of robbing banks. Great performance.

Rebecca Hall plays Affleck's love interest, but she's not just some girl. She's the girl he robs at the beginning of the film. The two develop a relationship throughout the film. Hall is great at showing the aftereffects of a traumatic experience like being robbed at gun point.

Jeremy Renner plays Affleck's best friend. He's the crazy gunslinger of the gang and does well to show his loyalty to Affleck. He really didn't have much screen time where he wasn't shooting a gun, but does great with the character development and motivations.

Jon Hamm, aka the rumored new Superman, is awesome! They could have easily written Hamm as a stereotypical FBI agent out to do good and bring the bad guys to justice. Uh-uh! He's a bad ass. He's a perp-beating, insult-flinging, threat-making son of a bitch. I loved his character! Wait until you see the exchange between him and Affleck. It's awesome. Oh, and there are bit roles for Chris Cooper and Pete Postlethwaite which are AMAZING! I don't want to tell you more about their characters, see the movie.

Action Sequences
They did WHAT?! Shot up FattMatt's hometown? Wait, they did what? The climax of the film is at Fenway Park? Are you kidding me? NOPE! The first action sequence is brilliant, perfectly choreographed and executed. The second features a chase through the narrow streets of Charlestown, Massachusetts that is pretty intense. And of course, the much talked-about climax at Fenway Park, home to the Boston Redsox. I don't want to say more, please just see the movie and let me know what you think.


What I didn't like about the movie:
The Love Story
This is a tricky one. The love story works, just trust me, I'm the first to bitch and complain when a love story feels fake or forced. This one works, but I wish there was a bit more of developing the relationship. Yeah, I really did just say that. Maybe one more date, or a walk somewhere would have sealed the deal that the two main characters were as madly in love as we're supposed to believe. I did, however, like the contrast between the relationship of Affleck and Hall vs. Affleck and Blake Lively's character. One is based on nothing but lust (Lively) and the other, love (Hall). Well done.

Coincidences/Tie-in
This one bothered me a bit. I understand the reasoning, but I didn't appreciate the execution. The story needs to tie-in the FBI to the final heist. So Affleck and company give it to us, in a nicely packed box with a bow on it. We're better than that! Come on. It's so absurd the way the FBI is tipped off on the final heist that it left a sour taste in my mouth. Please let me know if it made you roll your eyes as well.

Overall the film was a ton of fun. The characters were rich and their back stories fascinating. Affleck's sophomore effort as director is a great one. I enjoyed Gone Baby Gone a lot, but The Town is even better. The story and execution were unique, great contrast between the thieves and the FBI and a climax that was worth it's location's history. Go see this film and I'm sure you'll have a good time.

1 comment:

FattMatt said...

I can't wait to see this one.