Ben Affleck’s The Town premiered at the Toronto International Film Festival, and it did not disappoint (click here to read about the red carpet premiere).
Affleck proved that he’s not only a great actor, but an impressive director and co-writer. The film, based on Chuck Hogan’s novel, Prince of Thieves, is about Doug MacRay (Affleck), a thief who develops feelings for a bank manager involved in one of his bank heists, all while a FBI agent (Jon Hamm) attempts to bring him and his team down.
The drama, based in Charlestown, Boston, had the audience at the edge of their seats. Though slow at times, it was definitely packed with explosive action scenes. What made the film stand out was Affleck’s ability to use shots that captured the film’s subtle comedic elements. I don’t think the film would have been as enjoyable, were it not for the underlying moments of humor.
Affleck’s portrayal of Doug MacRay had the audience feeling as torn as he was between his love interest, Claire Keesey (Rebecca Hall), and his ‘career’ as a thief. What made this film interesting is that Affleck was the protagonist and antagonist at the same time. He had the audience rooting for the ‘bad guys’ instead of the FBI Secret Agent, Adam Frawley (Hamm).
The script was well written and definitely included the rough language you would expect to see in a heist in Boston. Most of the characters have a Bostonian accent, which sometimes made them difficult to understand.
Blake Lively of Gossip Girl, had the chance to prove that she can take on darker, more serious roles, since she is usually typecast in chick flicks (like The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants). Lively played Krista Coughlin, Jeremy Renner’s troubled sister, and Affleck’s earlier love interest. Though she didn’t have a large part in the film, Lively demonstrated that she can portray darker roles well enough.
I never really cared for Mad Men’s Jon Hamm, until I saw him portray a macho FBI agent in the film. His cold demeanor, combined with his ability to exude confidence and dry humor, made him quite enjoyable to watch (especially for the ladies).
Renner and Chris Cooper both played their parts fantastically, while Hall effectively played on the audience’s sympathy.
The only thing the film was missing was more depth, in terms of the main character’s history. There’s no real explanation as to why Affleck’s character became a thief to begin with. The film had some moments that briefly explored his past, but still left several unanswered questions.
I predicted a few possible outcomes as the ending. Though some would argue that the ending was a bit predictable, I wondered what happened after the credits rolled.
Overall, The Town turned out to be a solid action film, much better than I expected. Though there were a few rough patches, Affleck’s film is definitely a must-see this fall. If I had to rate it, I’d give it an 8 out of 10.
The Town is set to hit theaters on September 17th. Let me know what you think!