The Town (15)

Film image

The ViewBirmingham Review

StarStarStarStarNo Star
Review byMatthew Turner27/09/2010

Four out of Five stars
Running time: 125 mins

This is a hugely enjoyable thriller that confirms Ben Affleck's talent as a director, thanks to a strong script, great set-pieces and terrific performances from a note-perfect cast.

What's it all about?
Directed by Ben Affleck, The Town is based on a novel by Chuck Hogan and set in the Charlestown neighbourhood of Boston, which, an onscreen caption informs us, is home to more bank and armoured car robbers than any other square mile in the world. Affleck plays one such robber, Doug MacRay, who leads a gang of rubber-mask-wearing heist-pullers that includes trigger-happy best friend Jem (Jeremy Renner), driver Gloansy (Slaine) and tech expert Des, though they're also expected to fork over a cut of each bank job to florist-slash-gang-boss Fergie (Pete Postlethwaite).

When Jem briefly takes bank manager Claire (Rebecca Hall) hostage on their latest job, Doug gets to know her in order to find out if she could identify them, but soon finds himself falling for her and contemplating a way out of the bank robbing game. Meanwhile, dogged FBI Agent Frawley is hot on their trail, which makes their next heist much more of a risk.

The Good
Affleck's direction is superb, firmly cementing his talent as a director after Gone Baby Gone. The action sequences are particularly good, most notably a thrilling car chase and a tense shoot-out (several critics have drawn comparisons with Michael Mann), but Affleck also displays a strong eye for detail and maintains a decent pace throughout.

Affleck has also upped his game acting-wise, delivering his best leading performance to date as Doug and convincing both in the romantic moments and the grittier scenes. The rest of the cast are equally good, particularly Hall (nailing yet another note-perfect American accent), Hamm (clearly enjoying himself as the no-nonsense Agent Frawley), Renner (brilliant as always, though perhaps slightly under-used) and Postlethwaite (genuinely chilling), while Blake Lively (as Doug's ex-girlfriend and Jem's sister) and Chris Cooper (as Doug's incarcerated dad) make strong impressions with their relatively short screen time.

The Great
The heavily-accented dialogue is excellent and the script throws up several good lines, such as Frawley complaining that “We'll never get 24 hour surveillance unless one of these idiots converts to Islam”.

Worth seeing?
The Town is a well made, superbly acted thriller that confirms Ben Affleck's talents as a director. Highly recommended.

Film Trailer

The Town (15)
Be the first to review The Town...
01 Focus (15)

Will Smith, Margot Robbie, Rodrigo Santoro

02 Selma (12A)

David Oyelowo, Carmen Ejogo, Tim Roth

03 Far from the Madding Crowd (tbc)

Carey Mulligan, Tom Sturridge, Matthias Schoenaert...

04 Chappie (tbc)

Hugh Jackman, Sigourney Weaver, Sharlto Copley

05 A Most Violent Year (15)

Oscar Isaac, Jessica Chastain, David Oyelowo

Content updated: 26/09/2018 08:37

Latest Film Reviews

Film Blog

Urban Pundit

Keep up to date with everything in film and cinema at Urban Pundit, the exciting new blog.

Film of the Week

The Conjuring (15)

Hugely enjoyable, genuinely scary horror flick that provides a welcome throwback to classic 1970s chillers, thanks to impeccable production design, a superb script, powerfully atmospheric direction, intense set-pieces and terrific performances.

Latest Close Up

Noah Baumbach Interview

The Frances Ha director discusses co-writing the script with Greta Gerwig, shooting against the backdrop of New York and the real lives of the city’s people, Greta Gerwig’s performance, the music in the film and the picture's visual style.