Movie Review: The Town (2010)

Posted: April 7, 2012 in Drama
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Doug Mc Ray (Ben Affleck) James Coughlin (Jeremy Renner)  Albert McGloan (Slaine) and Desmond Eldon are four thieves who stick up Brinks trucks and banks, in the working class section of Boston, known as Charlestown. They have never been caught.  During their most recent heist, however, James decides to take a hostage, bank manager Claire Keesey (Rebecca Hall).  Claire sees James’ tattoo, but is let go unharmed and immediately starts to talk to FBI Agent Adam Frawley (Jon Hamm) Shortly after Claire meets with Frawley, Doug runs into her at the laundromat, this is no accident, Doug is following Claire. They start seeing each other socially, while Doug is planning his next job.  After Doug’s gang knocks over another Brinks truck, and barely escapes a police dragnet, Agent Frawley starts pressing Christa Coughlin  (Blake Lively) James sister, drug user one of the gang’s money launderers,  and Doug’s old girlfriend, for information about where Doug’s gang will strike next.  Doug wants to leave this life of crime, it’s getting too dangerous, and maybe he is starting to have feelings for Claire, but Doug is being blackmailed into doing one more job, stealing the gate receipts from a game at Fenway Park.  Will Doug go through one last robbery, out of loyalty to his friends?  Will Claire ever find out what Doug does for a living?

This is a very good movie.  The story is a bit of a cliché, guy from the wrong side of the tracks meets suburban yuppie, who he has also kidnapped, and who could also put Doug away for good.  The fact that Doug is thinking of leaving after “one last score” is a cliché too, it reminds me of Danny Glover’s character in those Lethal Weapon movies, who’s seemingly always one case away from retirement.  Despite all these drawbacks of the story, the movie works because of superior performances.  Affleck’s performance is very good for the first half hour of the movie, and then it turns into “Look, it’s Ben Affleck playing a criminal.”  But Jeremy Renner is spellbinding as a gritty, take no prisoners, off the rails cold blooded killer.  After his performance in the Hurt Locker, his star is definitely rising.  Rebecca Hall gives a mostly good performance as Affleck’s possible love interest.  Jon Hamm of Mad Men gives an honest performance that makes the viewer believe in integrity and decency.  He wants these robbers, but he doesn’t bust heads or break rules to get them.   But it is Blake Lively who is a revelation, she’s a tough talking street-wise girl, who would give anything for a life with Doug, she is definitely not just the pretty face from Gossip Girl. This movie is good because its performances rise above the material.

The Town:  Beantown’s seedy side.

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