First time at bat Ben Affleck showed us he was no slouch as a director with the critically acclaimed Gone Baby Gone. His second time at the plate he loaded the bases with the finest talent and hit a grand slam. The Town is one of the most powerful films to come out of Hollywood this year and is just the beginning of Affleck’s career as a take no prisoner’s director.
The Town takes us to the neighborhood of Charleston, nested in the metro of Boston, this neighborhood has produced more bank robbers than any other place in the country. The film follows a group of those skilled criminals and a look into their community. When on a job, they take a hostage to ensure that they have a card to play later with the police if they are cornered. After letting her free, they learn the hostage ends up living in their neighborhood. This small element is the tiny crack that begins to destroy their cohesion. The ties that bind the group together are looked at through an empathic lens and the foundation of their upbringing is questioned. Although, not soft hearted, this is definitely a tale of those who live this hard lifestyle. Stuck in this world that they have only known makes the lives that connect them the anchors to their environment. From their being born into it, to their inevitable fate behind bars, The Town shows it all.
Excellently written, this story plays with emotional elements that have us wanting so much for a better life for that of our protagonists despite the selfish criminals they are. Affleck’s cast is a mixture of world-class talent and up and coming stars but all played their roles nothing short of award winning. If anything you only want more time with them to see them play their roles more. Shot with a visual appreciation for the grand city of Boston, Robert Elswit’s role as the director of photography was taken seriously and done with the touch of a skilled professional who is now becoming a master. Expect a few awards to be thrown this group’s way next year.
Without a doubt The Town is going to be in the history books as one of Boston’s iconic films. A native in his own right, Ben Affleck knew everything that was needed to paint the picture of this lifestyle that is unique to members of this neighborhood, while also playing such a heavy role. Affleck is taking the path that many multi-talented actors have done and sat in the director’s chair, only he is doing it with the conviction and vision like that of Clint Eastwood.
Rated R for strong violence, pervasive language, some sexuality and drug use.