Monday, May 7, 2012

The Town (2010)

R, 2 hr. 4 min.  Directed By:  Ben Affleck.  Release Date:  Sep 17, 2010.  DVD Release Date:  Dec 17, 2010.

I have a hard time liking Ben Affleck.  Don’t get me wrong, he had a good start:  School Ties, Dazed and Confused, Good Will HuntingAll good, enjoyable movies.  It’s the only reason I don’t think that the only reason that he’s a star is Matt Damon, although I do have to ignore that Damon is in all of the handful of movies I like in Affleck’s filmography until Affleck’s directorial debut. Actually, looking through his filmography, I never liked any Affleck movie unless Matt Damon was in it until Affleck started directing.  When I see movie trailers for his directorial work that means that I have to ignore crap like Reindeer Games, Paycheck, and Daredevil, among others.  Despite that, I have to admit that Affleck is MUCH more successful as a director than he is as an actor… now if he could break the habit of directing himself that would be fantastic.

I have a few gripes that this is yet another tale of the Boston stews.  It’s not Southy, but some other place that you’ve probably never heard of unless you’re from the area or you have an interest (apparently) in bank and/or armored car robbery.  However, I’m going to lessen my gripes because I thought this was really well done.  I didn’t feel like Chestertown, Mass, or whatever the name of the movie was, was beating me over the head.  I did occasionally feel that way with Good Will Hunting.  And I get his message:  upper-crust, post-colonial Boston has a seedy underbelly.  I also get that a good story teller tells a story that matches his or her life experience, and in that, I think Affleck does a good job.

As a drama, I think this is significantly higher caliber than as an action movie, in part because the “action” sequences are generally limited to a few exchanges of gunfire.  I’m not sure why there are people thinking this is an action movie, because it lacks some of the telltale features of one.  Most notable of these missing traits are a derth of action sequences, a lack of special effects and stunts, and the fact that The Town has a reasonably complete story and plot. However, it is certainly an outstanding entry into the crime drama genre. 

I enjoyed the story, although I noticed more than one person saying that a few hours after the movie was over, they couldn’t remember anything about it.  I remember the tale, but by the time I’d written this, I only clearly remembered a few scenes:  the, um, “love” scene between Affleck and Blake Lively, the scene where Jeremy Renner is dealt with, and the final scene with Affleck in the florist.  Everything else was a vague blur of velour track suits and sweaty gin joints with the occasional burst of gunfire.  I do think this was a little bland, and that is perhaps the cause for this effect. 

If you haven’t seen this, it’s pretty good.  I smiled a lot at the use of full on costumes during the bank robberies, because it reminded me strongly of another good bank robbery movie:  Point Break, which I eventually need to watch again.  If you (kind of like me) have become a fan of, or at least noticed, Affleck’s directorial career, this won’t disappoint.