The Town is a deliberately old-fashioned, pulpy crime drama that serves its purpose as a romantic heist picture, where character-driven narrative intertwines with many action-packed sequences of utmost suspense. With this film Ben Affleck surely hit a second spectacular home run (right after Gone Baby Gone), assuring that his directorial career will be more rewarding than his acting one.
What’s surprising is that the story depicted in The Town comes as a rather familiar and simple one, but the way it’s presented and acted promises many splendidly entertaining and downright thrilling moments. Right within the first few minutes of the picture the tension mounts to unbearable levels, as a group of masked criminals robs a bank and takes one of the female workers as a hostage. The woman, Claire (Rebecca Hall), quickly becomes the object of interest of the mastermind behind the heist, Doug (Ben Affleck in his most promising role to date). Yet still unknown to her is the fact that Doug was actually the one, who commanded the operation and caused the whole mess. As the two begin their burning love affair, Doug – along with his three partners in crime – plan another dangerous robberies. His sudden affection towards the girl and gradual loss of readiness to go into action makes his partner anxious and relevantly angry. Jem (Jeremy Renner; the guy really had a good few years), his longtime friend and former jailbird is trying to convince him that money is worth more than a girl. Apart from the personal conflicts, Doug is followed closely by a FBI operative Frawley (Jon Hamm), who is eager to put the guys behind bars and stop the Charlestown criminal ring once and for all. Because, after all, it’s a business of relationships, and what happens in the family stays in the family. Doug walks a thin line between freedom and imprisonment, and this one final action might be all that he needs to finally take the matters of his life into his own hands.
Being a smartly written and captivatingly shot (many great aerial shots of Boston) thriller, The Town brings about all that’s best about the genre, without referring to any cliches per se. Through combining its modern, violent crime nature with an appealing 30’s vibe, The Town advises the audiences to look closely into the substance of the film and react to a many of the intense and gritty sensations that cleverly fill the core of the film. Every actor has a room to maneuver, and – decidedly so – each and every one of them finds a way to be a considerable part of the whole picture.