The Town (2010)

The Town (2010)
  • Time: 125 min
  • Genre: Crime | Drama | Thriller
  • Director: Ben Affleck
  • Cast: Ben Affleck, Rebecca Hall, Jeremy Renner


In Boston’s bleak Charlestown, criminals depend on a code of silence; those caught serve their time. Doug MacRay masterminds bank robberies with three friends: the hotheaded Jem, Des, an electrician, and Al, their driver. After a dicey bank job, Doug must make sure the female bank manager, Claire, who lives in Charlestown, doesn’t know who they are. He contrives to meet her and then finds her appealing. As the FBI zeroes in on the gang, Doug wants out, Claire doesn’t know who he really is, and Jem and their money launderer, an aging florist, insist that Doug do one more job. Are prison and death the only ways out of Charlestown?


  • The movie contrasted the relationships between bank robber Doug Macray and his group against his growing feelings for Claire Keesey, the bank manager, and his attempts to outwit FBI agent Frawley. The plot was well executed even if it was a little predictable. Ben Afleck gave a great performance as the conflicted Macray while wearing the second hat of director. The character was fed up with his life as it was and wanted to improve it, but didn’t have much incentive.

    The idea that Claire could fall for him was a stretch but was convincingly justified because he was there when she needed someone. The action scenes were engaging. Just when the bank robbers seemed to have their backs against the wall something happened to change the situation. Blake Lively showed her acting skills in her portrayal of an addicted ex-girlfriend that was still not over Doug. There were a few unexpected twists, one being the scene where he was talking to Claire on the phone about meeting with her. It was her response that I didn’t expect. His friendship with Coughlin led me to believe the film would end differently. It was a very entertaining film.

  • These guys are pros. They have masks on, they have the time lock down to the second, they leave no DNA, and they know how to disable the security system. These four “townies” from Charlestown, a small neighborhood in Boston known for being home to a high number of bank/truck robbers, have definitely done this before. However, they make one mistake: a crew member makes the impulsive decision to bring along Claire, the bank manager, as a hostage in the getaway van. A couple days after the heist, the men realize that this bank manager lives 4 blocks away from them, and she is the one person that could expose them.
    Contrary to what one of the men says, leader Doug MacRay doesn’t want to “get rid of her”. Instead, he simply just wants to see if she even is a liable witness. After meeting her in a laundromat, Doug has fallen in love with Claire, and he doesn’t tell his friends. Following another truck job, Doug and his men catch the attention of FBI agent Adam Frawley, a man who knows his stuff about these kinds of cases. As Doug and Claire’s relationship continues, the reach of Frawley and his men begins to close in on the Charlestown crew, and it all reaches a climax on the perfect stage for a Bostonian story, Fenway Park.

    My Thoughts
    This is a film not just about four guys from Boston. Rather, it is about the culture behind crime, and what crime does to people. Doug, played by Ben Affleck, is simply engaging in the family business, as his father was an ex-truck robber that got busted and is in prison for 5 life sentences. In contrast to his dad and team member Jem, Doug uses his gun as his last resort. and he hates every time that his finger has to pull the trigger.
    Jem, Doug’s second-in-command, is dangerously impulsive, and he is the catalyst for the troubles of the crew. He is the one that decided to bring Claire as a hostage, and he’s the one that convinces his drug-addict sister that Doug still loves her. He is too quick to pull his gun, and he moves too quickly to see what lies ahead. As I saw this film, I drew somewhat of a comparison between Jem and Tommy DeVito from 1990’s Goodfellas. Like Tommy, Jem is erratic, and he is troubled mentally by delusions of safety. One more thing that the two characters share is that the men who played them, Joe Pesci as Tommy and Jeremy Renner as Jem, both were nominated in the Best Supporting Actor category; however, Pesci came home with a statuette in the end.
    My one major negative is the language. I personally am not too marred by foul language, but I do not like it when certain words are used unnecessarily. In certain scenes, the count of cuss words is not needed, particularly the f-word. I can acknowledge that the real men of the tough town probably aren’t exactly pure in their vocabulary, but the f-word shouldn’t need to be used as a noun, verb, adjective, adverb, and a preposition in a film’s dialogue.
    This film is not one that will blow you away with the effects or the camerawork, but is almost biographical in its portrayal of the “townies” of Boston’s neighborhood.

    Score: 8/10
    Comments: Putting aside the dirty vocabulary, the numerous drug references, and the obvious criminal source material, The Town is very well put together. This is a great film about the social effects that crime has, and it is a film about Boston done by Ben Affleck, a very famous Bostonian.

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  • I react with some measure of disappointment to Ben Affleck’s newest feature, The Town. Starring himself, Jeremy Renner (The Hurt Locker, 2009), and Rebecca Hall (Vicky Cristina Barcelona, 2008), this crime-heist thriller is set in Charlestown, Boston, where every other day there seems to be an armed robbery happening.

    Produced by Graham King, who won the Best Picture Oscar for Scorsese’s The Departed (2006), which is also set in Boston, The Town is a generic crime-thriller that offers nothing more than two hours of average entertainment.

    The film follows Affleck’s character, Doug , as he faces a turning point in his life. He leads a gang of masked armed robbers but wants to quit a life of crime and change for good. His dream of a better future is spurred on by a coincidental romance with Claire (Hall), who was an unharmed victim (and a key witness) of one of his heist schemes.

    To complicate things, Claire does not know that Doug was involved in that heist. Worse, his partner-in-crime, James (Renner), a volatile, Joe Pesci-like madman, discovers their relationship and threatens to kill her. There is a scene with these three characters together, sitting around a table at an outdoor café. This is perhaps the only moment in the film that causes a significant degree of uneasiness and tension in the viewer.

    Sad to say, much of the entire film does not live up to its “thriller” tag. As a crime-thriller, it is a borderline passable entry. That is not good enough for Affleck, whose debut directing effort Gone Baby Gone (2007) has shown that he is capable of making a noteworthy thriller.

    The Town has reasonably well-executed action sequences, but they amount to nothing if the story is one-dimensional, and the characters underdeveloped. The romance between Doug and Claire, which I feel to be the film’s central narrative thread, is clearly lacking in development, thus when the film closes with their separation, and ends with the line “…see you again, this side or the other”, it feels unconvincing.

    The Town’s standout performance is credited to Renner. He steals the screen every time he appears, but his characterization is limited to the stereotypical caricature of a bad-ass gangster. Nevertheless, Renner’s performance helps to engage the viewer whenever the story fails to do so. As for Affleck’s performance, there is no surprise in store for us. He is weak in acting and should stick to directing instead. But hey, I am starting to have doubts about his directing too.

    GRADE: C

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