The Town: Move over Woody and Clint and make way for Ben—Movie

The Town proves two things– Ben Affleck can act and most importantly, this man can really direct.

Based on Chuck Hogan’s novel, Prince of Thieves, with script by Affleck, Peter Craig and Aaron Stockard, and directed by Affleck, The Town is a tightly woven crime drama taking place in the Boston neighborhood of Charlestown. Boston is in Affleck’s blood and it shows in every shot—from the streets to the people to the accents. There is never a false note.

Ben Affleck is Doug McRae, the brains behind a small band of bank robbers. When the gang takes the bank manager, Claire Keesey (Rebecca Hall), hostage for a brief period of time in the aftermath of a bank heist, the FBI heat on the robbers intensifies. The gang discovers that Claire lives in their Charlestown neighborhood, so Affleck purposely meets “cute” with her to see if she’ll be able to identify them. She doesn’t and the two of them hit it off, and after a brief time they  fall in love with consequences for all.

Affleck has assembled a terrific cast, some from television and others from the movies. All of them are great. Jeremy Renner as Jem Coughlin, whose character is like a brother to Doug, gives another phenomenal performance. He’s utterly convincing as the group’s hothead. Chris Cooper, as Doug’s proud, but defeated father, is once again fabulous in a small, but important role. Mad Men’s Jon Hamm is very good as the low-key FBI agent on the case and boy,his looks hold up well in the big screen. Pete Postlethwaite, as Fergie the florist, gives a chilling, unforgettable performance. Rebecca Hall’s Claire is spot-on, particularly in the robbery scene, with just the right touch of vulnerability and strength. And finally, Gossip Girl’s Blake Lively turns in such a fantastic performance as Jem’s sister and Doug’s one-time girlfriend, that she could have people talking coming awards’ time.

The terrific directing is not limited to the actors. The car chases are fantastic and authentic…up and down and around the narrow streets of Boston. The scenes in and around Fenway Park feel real and the robberies are staged like a pro did them.

Affleck’s directing card should be getting very crowded. Any producer with a brain in his or her head should be begging him to direct their movies. He absolutely directs the beejeezus out of everyone in The TownThe Town also demonstrates that perhaps Affleck should have been directing himself years ago. Ben Affleck, the actor, hasn’t been this good since Chasing Amy.

Woody and Clint—look out! There’s a new hyphenate in town and he’s gunning for you.

4 nuggets out of 4

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