Thursday, October 14, 2010

Review: The Town

Ben Affleck has returned behind the scenes with The Town, his second directorial effort after 2007’s Gone Baby Gone. What his latest film may lack in nuance and originality, it gains in sheer scope and technical prowess. While he never quite got the respect that he occasionally deserved as an actor, as a director, Affleck has quickly become one of the most exciting and interesting names in Hollywood.

Read the rest at Trespass

If I had more of a word limit I would've gone into the individual moments that the cast members did well at. I really liked Affleck's brief moments of levity in his performance. The jokes of the laundromat scene or the way he, as director, has fun with the various costume changes that he and his heist crew switch through. Renner's cheekiness at the lunch sequence and, despite not liking the rest of the performance, Blake Lively has a moment at the very end of the scene between she and Hamm in the bar where so many things rush across her face. I, too, enjoyed the ever-constant idea that Hamm's FBI agent was perhaps a little bit sexist or, perhaps, a little bit infatuated with Rebecca Hall's hostage victim just like Affleck was.

One of the other bits I bring up in the review, but which I couldn't elaborate on too much, were the similarities to F Gary Gray's Set It Off from 1996. Having only just watched that movie recently, it was obviously fresher in my mind than anyone else, but I was still surprised at how similar the two were. That all-female heist movie is more flawed than The Town, but is ultimately more enjoyable because of the vivacious talent of its leading quartet; the other two actors in the crew of The Town, Slaine and Desmond Elden, aren't given much to do.

Prince of Thieves, the book by Chuck Hogan that The Town (what's up with that dud retitling, by the way?) is based on, was written in 1995 so it's not like Gray's film took its inspiration from Hogan's book. Nevertheless, the similarities are numerous. The heist crew of four from an impoverished neighbourhood, one of which has an innate knowledge cars and another who dates the manager of one of the banks they rob. They both feature similar sound tricks - loud design followed by quick alternate shots in silence - and visual hooks. And the final heist? Very similar, again. Both include one member of the crew driving towards the cops as a decoy, both feature the toughest member of the crew making one last stand and both - big SPOILER here, so highlight to read - have one member of the crew die early in the heist while another gets away in the end, fleeing to somewhere where they won't be found. END SPOILER

Still, it's a good movie, don't you think? And, dare I say, Ben Affleck is a more interesting person right now than Matt Damon and I am so glad. I've always been on Team Affleck (although, as even I can admit, those Gigli does her ROUGH!)

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