Welcome to Charlestown
Welcome to Charlestown. The city as "The Town" refers to as the one place where more bank robbers are born and raised in than any other city within the United States. This movie marks Ben Affleck's second directorial debut, since "Gone Baby Gone", in which he sets out to tell a story about a deep internally conflicted drama disguised as a action packed crime movie. Unlike the last crime drama that came out recently that was more about style over substance in "Takers", "The Town" is actually the exact opposite. Not only does Ben Affleck do a wonderful job pulling this masterful film together, he does so in such a deep way that's highly engaging for it's audience.
Although some of the action sequences do seem a bit unrealistic during certain scenes, like the shoot out between Jeremy Renner (James Coughlin aka Gem) and the police around the ending. Which sadly distorts some of the reality based themes, as the film stays pretty grounded throughout most movie. However, it's not enough to where I would hold it against this movie, as I doubt seriously most people are going to care...let alone notice a minor detail such as this, but it's worth noting.
As far as story goes, I can't say enough about this film to be quite honest. As the film is literally that good, it's one of those rare stories that will capture your attention right from the start and never let go until the very end. The film is essentially about a construction worker named Doug MacRay (Ben Affleck), who moonlights as a bank robber on the side. He notes during his early narration into the film, bank robbing isn't that much different from any other family business within the United States. Which I know to most people that would be absurd, but not to Doug or his pals. Doug is the brains of this operation, as they've been notoriously known to pull off successful bank jobs with absolute precision. Careful to never leave a single clue linking them to the crime, as they always burn all the evidence. Naturally, one would think that such actions would bring the viewer to hate and detest the main protagonists based on their illegal actions. However, Ben Affleck's performance comes off so charming and sympathetic it makes the viewer can't help but be intrigued by his character.
As he plans his next job, Doug tries to balance his feelings for a bank manager connected to one of his earlier heists, as well as the FBI agent looking to bring him and his crew down. The bank manager he follows was originally kidnapped and then let go by his accomplice, Gem. Naturally, Doug and his crew never made such a brash mistake before but then again, neither of them are as reckless as Gem. Unlike the other characters in this movie, Gem isn't subtle nor is he discreet about what he does. No, he's a loose cannon waiting to go off at a moment's notice, as he often throws caution to the wind out of sheer instinct. Watching Jeremy Renner play such a hard nosed character was reminiscent of Joe Pesci in "Goodfellas", both brash and irrational in their moves, but both so much fun to watch.
As for the rest of the cast, they were brilliant in their perspective performances as well. Each actor complimenting each other perfectly, as I could go on all day about their performances. Although I will go on record saying that the ending could have been better, as the movie offers very little closure on some of the supporting characters like Krista Coughlin (Blake Lively) , who's Gem's sister and mother to Doug's only child.
Other than that gripe, I thought Ben Affleck did a great job pulling off this crime drama masterfully. Like his character, he uses absolute precision and timing to hit the audience where it hurts, and keeps their attention until the very end. Definitely worth a three and a half out of four.
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The place that produces more bank robbers than anywhere else in America according to "The Town."
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