Crime caper The Town tells a suspenseful story about friendship, loyalty and love. Bank and armored-truck robbers Doug MacRay (Ben Affleck) and Jimmy “Jem” (Jeremy Renner) are like brothers, having grown up together in the Charlestown neighborhood of Boston. Their crew includes two other childhood friends. The four have executed several successful heists. During their last one, Jimmy takes the bank manager, Claire (Rebecca Hall), hostage.
(Spoiler Alert: Read at Your Own Risk!)
After being blindfolded, she’s released unharmed. FBI Special Agent Adam Frawley (Jon Hamm) is all over the case. Doug and Jimmy are worried. Did she see anything? Doug (sans mask and weapon) begins watching her. After a chance meeting, they become romantically involved, but Doug has his secret to guard; she becomes his other secret. His desire to start a new crime-free life with her grows, but he’s part of the Irish Family and you don’t just quit. Doug and his crew are pegged for a huge heist at Fenway Park--one that will take skill, confidence and luck. Will Doug find a way out or will he end up in prison with his father and never again see Claire?
The Town utilizes unique details such as masks. They offer visual stimulation, ratchet up the tension and add lightness to the chaos. The uniforms add complexity to the heists since we aren’t privy to the planning. We see enough of Boston that the city itself becomes a character, providing a feel for its historic charm and the calamity that overthrows it during these robberies.
I’ve never been a fan of Affleck, but he’s accomplished a compelling performance, a decent screenplay and tour-de-force directing (follow-up to his feature debut Gone Baby Gone). Renner is a powerhouse, simmering with emotion behind the stony façade; he is Jem, the hothead loyal to the end. Blake Lively as Krista, Jem’s sister and Doug’s ex, is surprisingly good. Chris Cooper as Doug’s jailbird daddy does what he does best—plays unlikable characters with relish. Pete Postlethwaite as the Irish Godfather, Fergie the Florist, delivers in his second to last performance before his death (cancer) in January.
Adapted for the screen by Ben Affleck, Peter Craig and Aaron Stockard from the novel Prince of Thieves by Chuck Hogan, The Town is worthy of your time.
Co-Writer/Director: Ben Affleck
Run time: 126 minutes