Saturday, September 18, 2010

"The Town"

So, a movie set in the city of Boston, eh? I wonder if it's about crime... and the Red Sox... and people lounging around doing stuff...

Wait, bank robberies? And they're actually filming in the Fenway area? As in, on that street I walk along every weekend to go see a movie? Huh, this may not be so bad after all.

Well... probably not, except for one thing: for me to be able to talk about this movie, I feel I must give minor spoilers as to how things end. So for those of you who are picky:


Because you can't say I didn't warn you if I put this thing up here and your movie is spoiled.

Right. Well, I'll bring it to today's movie.

The Town

Doug (Ben Affleck) is a man who lives in Charlestown and robs banks for a living with his buddy Jem (Jeremy Renner) and two other guys. When one heist ends with Doug taking the beautiful young manager of a bank hostage, a relationship ends up blossoming between himself and said manager, Claire (Rebecca Hall). After this heist, however, things heat up when an FBI agent (Jon Hamm) is assigned to the case, and so Doug realizes he has to come to terms with what he's done and figure out a way to get out.

All fine and good. Why is it that crime films are always set in Boston? I'm not entirely sure if it should be that way, but hey, it makes for good drama. Plus, it's cool to see various places in the city that you recognize.

... Right, I'm getting carried away there.

[SPOILERS!]I guess I'll start with a minor problem I have with the movie; its ending. I felt a little bothered by something about the ending, in which people get shot to death and they call in SWAT teams and the military... for dealing with a group of bank robbers. They're highly trained bank robbers, granted, but it's seen at several points throughout that only one of them actively tries to hurt people, and even then they never, ever kill anyone. And the leader? When given the chance, he'll actively refuse to hurt people. Hell, the fact that he legitimately falls in love with Claire attests to that, I should think. That, and the FBI agent actually comes across as a dick at a couple of points just to get information. So yeah. Disproportionate retribution much?[ENDSPOILERS!]

Fortunately, this film has enough other good things about it to make it easy to gloss over that. Everybody in the cast gives exceptional performances here: Ben Affleck gives an incredible performance as someone who's clearly getting tired of robbing banks for a living and who becomes more and more afraid for himself as time goes on. The rest of the cast gives outstanding performances too, even Jon Hamm in his slightly 2-dimensional FBI agent. Perhaps the only problem I had with the casting was Jeremy Renner, but even then he still gave an incredible performance; my problem with Renner had more to do with the fact that I couldn't stop seeing Sergeant First Class James every time he came onscreen until the third act, so take that bit of casting ire with a grain of salt. Their performances are strange in that the criminals are given a window with which to act; we can sympathize with the heroes, which helps a lot with the action scenes in the second and third acts.

The action scenes were... okay, for the most part, as it was fairly easy to tell what was going on, and it was all ground in the real world. (Though, this only clashed more violently with the tone of the film, given what I espoused within the spoiler tags.) And it's appropriately tense as well, thanks mostly to the fact that we come to care about the characters.

So with this, The Town is a good film. Is it the best film of the year? Probably not. But it's held together by exceptional performances from its main cast, which helps keep the tension high throughout the movie.


It has a few flaws, but it's still worth checking out.

This is Herr Wozzeck Reviews. I'll see you guys next time.

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