Toast of the Town

The Town ★★★★
(USA, 123 min)
Dir: Ben Affleck; Writ: Peter Craig, Ben Affleck, Aaron Stockhard.
Starring: Ben Affleck, Jon Hamm, Rebecca Hall, Jeremy Renner, Blake Lively, Pete Postlewaite.
Only a quick one for today – I’m sure you’ve already heard a lot about The Town the past few weeks. All the hype is certainly justified, too. The Town marks Ben Affleck’s second trip into the director’s seat (Gone, Baby, Gone was his first) and it seems the man’s found his true calling.

Affleck also headlines the stellar ensemble of his film. He plays Doug, the ringleader in a team of Boston bank robbers. His second-man is his best friend, Jim, played by Jeremy Renner from The Hurt Locker. Jim is a volatile hot-head, and Renner’s explosive and intimidating performance is easily the standout in the cast. Also really good is Jon Hamm as the FBI agent pursuing the bank robbers – his Special Agent Adam Frawley is just as cool and methodical as his Don Draper from “Mad Men”, but it’s hardly a repeat performance…the man is always great to watch! Rebecca Hall also shines as Claire, Doug’s love interest, who also happens to be the key witness from the gang’s most recent heist. The relationship between Doug/Claire is perhaps the one aspect of the film that feels contrived, especially when players in the story put their connection together, the situation is a little hard to buy. Nonetheless, Affleck and the actor’s sell it best they can.

While The Town isn’t quite as good as Gone Baby Gone, I’d hardly say that Affleck’s succumbed to that “second-film” curse. Quite the opposite. Affleck constructs a riveting action-thriller – The Town is surely the best crime drama this year. A well-crafted, well-paced, both-guns-loaded kind of movie, The Town is spectacular entertainment.