Thursday, September 23, 2010

New Release: The Town

I saw The Town a few days ago, and my review has been slow in coming because I'm not exactly sure what to say.  It was better than I expected based on the trailer, which didn't reveal too much.  It was face paced, but had good characters, and character development.  There were a few moments where they telegraphed things that would obviously become important - the things that might give away the bank robbers' identities, like tattoos or voices.  Ben Affleck, Jeremy Renner, and two guys I didn't know and were never really identified are friends from the Charlestown neighborhood of Boston.  They're carrying on the family business of crime by robbing armored cars and banks.  At their most recent heist, they take Rebecca Hall hostage for a little while and then let her go.  Except for Renner, they're not particularly violent guys, just seem to feel this compulsion to rob.  Jon Hamm is the FBI agent, along with Titus Welliver (a "that guy" from lots of TV shows, currently "The Good Wife") investigating all the robberies in the area.  They manage to figure out how they're all connected to these guys (unclear how they deduced this - movie cops are really smart), and then have to watch them to get enough evidence. 
Affleck is put in charge of figuring out if Rebecca Hall can identify them, and they start dating, since she obviously can't identify him.  Of course, falling for her makes Affleck rethink his criminal ways, and he tells Renner he'll only do one more job, which he doesn't want to do because the FBI agents have "brought the heat down".  Of course, things don't go well on the last job but they get away after a pretty great car chase through the windy Boston streets. This is where other heist movies tend to end with someone getting shot and either the rest being led away in handcuffs or escaping.  However, The Town adds a pretty great final act. 
Affleck's incarcerated father (Chris Cooper) used to work for "The Florist" - brilliantly played by Pete Postlethwaite.  Now he wants Affleck and his crew to rob Fenway Park.  The details in the final heist are complicated and it doesn't end well for just about anyone, but it's probably the best finale of a heist film I've seen in ages.  They made it bigger, without making it more complicated than a simple heist.  Overall, I enjoyed the movie, particularly Affleck's acting and directing.  Jon Hamm does a good job, but he's the least developed character of the bunch.  I guess that's one of the failings of even good heist movies, you have to make either the cops or robbers the good guys and give them the storyline.  The love story is left on the side of the movie, and looses some of the believability when she helps them in the end.  However, it doesn't bring the story down.  Enjoy my discussion of The Town on an upcoming episode of "The Matineecast"!!!   4 of 5 stars/lambs


Castor said...

Loved Postlethwaite as the meanest florist in the world! Glad you enjoyed this movie, I did too :) Affleck is really showing great promise behind the camera and even his performance was one of his best.

Fletch said...

Thirded! And I've been saying that I wish Postlethwaite had a bigger role so I could push for a Supporting Actor nod for him - as is, I suppose it's possible, but unlikely (that category is typically stacked).

Don't know if I agree with you about it being "probably the best finale of a heist film in ages," though. I've seen others rip into the finale, and while I was neither terribly bothered nor impressed by it, I'm probably closer to siding with them on that one. You have to swallow a lot of b.s. in it (though it remains highly entertaining).

Jess said...

Castor - I agree, his performance sticks with you.

Fletch - I think they missed an opportunity to create a really terrific ending, but I liked the originality that came with robbing such a unique target.

CMrok93 said...

In lesser hands, the central relationship might not have worked; but Affleck and Hall make it completely believable, adding to the texture of this classy thriller.