"Driver's name is Arthur Shea. Former Metro Police officer, fifty-seven years old. Soon as his partner leaves with the coal bag, Artie cracks a Herald, and he don't look up 'til the guy gets back. Marty Maguire. Cummins Armored courier. Five-ten, two-twenty, fifty-two years old. Picks up every Wednesday and Friday at exactly 8:12, makes a hundred and ten dollars a day, carries a Sig nine. And he's about to get robbed." - Doug McRay
Ben Affleck is often associated with bad career choices such as Daredevil, Paycheck, and the worst of them all Gigli (although I found it to be an enjoyable watch) and probably the best career choice of all- an affair with Jennifer Lopez. His name is often synonymous with the actors who look good but can't act, Keanu Reeves comes a close second. His stock had dipped so low that people had forgotten that he was an academy award winning screenplay writer for Good Will Hunting (Along with childhood friend Matt Damon). But over the past couple of years Affleck has turned the tables and has won over his lost fan base with a bold career change as a director, he debuted with Gone Baby Gone a gripping thriller and now has reinforced his status as a director to watch out for with his new venture The Town , proving that he is no one movie wonder.
Much like GBG, The Town has Boston as the backdrop; a city where Affleck was brought up in. The opening title card introduces the viewer to the fact that the Charlestown neighborhood of Boston is renowned for churning out a high number of armed robbers, so much so that this occupation is passed on from fathers to sons, from generation to generation. The movie takes the viewer right into the action in the opening few minutes of the scene where a group of robbers headed by Doug McRay (Affleck) take down a bank wearing Skeletor masks. Jem ( a brilliant Jeremy Renner), the hot headed trigger-happy member of the four-man crew takes Claire Keesey (Rebecca Hall) as the hostage much to McRay's chagrin. They release Claire unharmed, but later find out that she lives in the same neighborhood as theirs. Doug befriends her to find out how much she knows, and how much she has told to the FBI which is headed by Adam Frawley (Jon Hamm, Mad Men), a shrewd and relentless pursuer. What follows is a predictable story line where McRay falls for Claire and undergoes a change of heart and decides to give up his profession to start a new life. But some clever writing and some pulsating moments never makes the viewer feel bored.
Jem treats Doug as his brother, someone with whom he had grown up as a kid. He dreams of seeing Doug start a family with Krista, Jem's sister. But when Jem comes to know that Doug is willing to forsake everything, the job, the neighborhood, the friends for Claire, all hell breaks loose. Renner shines as the mean and psychotic Jem, faithful to Doug but also fearless to stand up to him. The movie may seem similar to the epic crime saga Heat, what with a cop chasing a criminal who plans to come through clean after his last job. But Affleck has deftly handled the story with a clever subplot in which McRay tries to find out the truth about his mother who had abandoned him as a child, which leads him to confront his father Stephen McRay (Chris Cooper in a blink-and-miss cameo). Pete Postlethwaite ( The Usual Suspects, In the Name of the Father) plays the ruthless Fergie Colm for whom Doug and his crew work, who in an explosive scene forces Doug to do the "one last job". Will Doug come out alive? Will he find out the truth about his mother? Will he end up with Claire? All these questions form a build up to the thrilling finale of the film.
The bank robbery scenes are pivotal to the movie which keeps the viewers on the edge of their seats. The heist scenes are raw and intense and seem realistic when taken with the hand held camera. Ben Affleck has joined the league of Clint Eastwood and Robert Redford, actors who have earned more success as directors. The Town is proof enough that Ben Affleck should wield the megaphone more regularly and put his acting career to a pause mode.
Trailer: The Town