The Town

Rebecca Hall and Ben Affleck in The Town

{The Town opened in Seattle on Friday, September 17th at the Guild 45th, Oak Tree Cinemas and AMC Pacific Place}

Ben Affleck’s second feature, The Town, proves to me once again that he’s a better director than actor. This is only unfortunate because he also plays the main character and he’s in almost every scene—but even I can put up with his blank, open-mouthed stare for a movie with enough action to keep me interested, which The Town totally is.

Opening with a few statistics about Charlestown, Boston and the excessive criminal population therein, the film thrusts us directly into a bank heist with 4 men wearing Slipknot masks. When an alarm is pulled, one of the men promptly beats the dude he suspects to a pulp, and grabs bank manager Claire Keesey (Rebecca Hall) as a hostage.

After the job, we meet the men: tortured, wanting-to-change Doug MacRay (Ben Affleck), short-fuse-guy “Jem” Coughlin (Jeremy Renner), muscle and getaway driver Albert Magloan (Slaine) and safe-cracker/alarm expert Desmond Elden (Owen Burke).

Jem is nervous about letting Keesey go unharmed, and suggests they check up on her and “remove her from the equation” if necessary. From the super-quick way “Dougie” steps in to volunteer for that job, you just know it’s going to be a bad idea.

I’m obviously not giving anything away here, as all this is in the trailer—but it’s not long before Doug starts courting Claire, and the two fall in love, which obviously changes EVERYTHING for our protagonist.

If this sounds too boring, don’t worry! They break up all the lovey-dovey stuff with some subtle humor and an excellent second bank heist involving a twisty-turny car chase through the cobblestone streets of the city. I won’t lie: I was kinda holding my breath during it (and inexplicably rooting for the bad guys to get away).

Also adding to the intrigue, Jon Hamm as FBI Agent Adam Frawley, hell-bent on getting these guys into prison, and actually doing an awesome job not reminding me of Don Draper; and Blake Lively as Doug’s trashy (I’m pretty sure every outfit she had on was purchased at a lingerie store) ex-girlfriend with a kid who may or may not be his—and Jem’s sister.

So Doug decides he wants out of the game, but can he get out? One more heist organized by craggy-faced gangster Fergie Colm (a lean, mean Pete Postlethwaite) may prove to be the gang’s last, but I promise you’ll enjoy every minute of it…maybe even enough to overlook the saccharine, melodramatic ending.