The Town

The Town Proves that Affleck Has What it Takes to Direct

Crime drama The Town has an unfortunate looking poster that would make the average movie-goer think they are about to watch an action packed heist movie. Instead, the movie is a deep and nuanced drama about the lives of thieves who are just trying to make things work out well for themselves. It does have some very ambitious (but well made) set pieces, and some of the heists are pretty good to watch. Still, if you are checking this out looking for impressive gunfights, you will get disappointed.

  • Rating:
    4.00 out of 5
  • Length: 2 hr. 31 min.
  • Premiere: 17 September 2010(USA)
  • Category: Drama/Action & Adventure/Romance/ Mystery & Suspense
  • Directors: Ben Affleck
  • Writers: Peter Craig, Ben Affleck, Aaron Stockard, Chuck Hogan
  • Stars: Ben Affleck, Peter Craig, Aaron Stockard

Too Close for Comfort

The main plot of the The Town revolves around Doug. Doug and his crew (composed of Jem, Gloansy, and Dez) have managed to rob a bank and get away with it –mostly due to the fact that they took the manager, Claire, as hostage. After they release her, Doug learns that she lives in the same neighborhood as they are. While they all wore disguises during the heist, Doug wonders how much Claire might know about them. He also worries that if she knows something, trigger-happy Jem might decide to kill her. So he decides to get close to her in order to answer those questions. And this, is quite obviously a really bad plan on Doug’s part.

Not surprisingly, Doug and Claire hit it off and the two end up in some kind of a relationship (the audiences will see that coming a mile away). While Claire is in the dark about Doug’s illegal activities, she does remember small pieces of information that could very well identify one of the crew (which may potential bust the whole team). Doug manages to convince her to keep the information secret.

In the meanwhile, the team is involved with a local crime lord named Fergie, and their actions with him lead them to the attention of the FBI. An Agent Frawley taps Claire’s phone and she is implicated as a potential accomplice when it is revealed that she is in a relationship with Doug. This forces her to cooperate with the police in order to bring down Doug’s crew. At the same time Fergie manipulates Doug into doing more jobs for him, threatening Claire and announcing that he was the reason why Doug’s parents are dead.

The final act of the film shows Doug managing to evade the police while bringing down Fergie (to ensure the safety of the other characters, especially Claire) before finally escaping. While Doug does not get back with Claire, he sends her the money from the score and lets her decide what to do with it.

Up and Down We Go

Affleck has a good hold on his actors. The performances are well done, and despite the contrivances in the plot (especially with Doug and Claire’s relationship) it is easy to feel sympathy for the film’s main protagonists. It does not take long before the viewers want to see a good ending.

The cinematography feels a little awkward at some points, as the views feel a little too forced. But for the most part, the film feels beautiful to watch. And the few action sequences that are present serve as a way to keep the movie’s pace moving forward, though this is still mostly a film that focuses on the drama.

The actual crimes perpetrated by Doug and his crew are basic, nothing in the same level of complex multilayered plans that are present in other heist films. But that is an intentional part of the narrative which sticks to Doug’s delicate balance between Claire, his crew, and the local gangs.

Charlestown and Crime

The setting of the film, Charlestown is stated to have produced a lot of bank robbers. And there are plenty of real life statistics that support this claim. It is even pointed out in the movie, but in a very respectful manner that still reminds viewers that the “..great majority of the residents in Charlestown, past and present, who are the same good and true people found most anywhere.”.