The Town (15)

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The ViewBirmingham Review

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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.

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The Town (15)
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Content updated: 14/12/2017 09:47

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