#59 The Town

The Town (2010)

Dir: Ben Affleck

What is it with Ben Affleck and hostages?

I was meant to be going to see ‘Argo’ at the cinema, but hot on the heels of it winning best picture at the Oscars everyone else had the same idea, and so the last screening sold out.

Instead, I watched Ben Affleck’s previously directed film ‘The Town’. Set in the Charlestown neighbourhood of Boston, it is about a team of bank robbers, who end up complicating their situation when they take a hostage (Rebecca Hall) briefly after one job, then later their leader becomes romantically involved with her, putting them all at risk.

The film goes straight into the action, within a minute or two of the start you’re in the midst of a bank robbery. It’s realistically rough though, you must be warned. One of the group played by Jeremy Renner is particularly unhinged, and so goes a little off the plan, beating up the banks assistant manager. There are a few parts of the film where the team are involved in violent acts, and though they are somewhat expected when you consider it’s a narrative about armed robbers, these parts are uncomfortable to watch in the way they’re shown as very close contact and tough.

As with Affleck’s last film, ‘Gone Baby Gone’, I did enjoy seeing something that was neatly put together. The cast is very well assembled, with Affleck and Renner working well as a pairing. There’s also Jon Hamm as a determined FBI agent who is after them, he displays great resourcefulness, and though his character might ordinarily be cast as the protagonist in a film where we see it from the side of the law enforcement trying to stop robberies, here we are given a good chunk of that but never take his side.

I’m still looking forward to seeing ‘Argo’, even more so as I know it’s a much lighter film that Affleck’s past two, and I would enjoy watching his skillful filmmaking put in that direction.



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