Wow. If Ben Affleck has lagged behind his Boston buddy Matt Damon in the acting stakes, he's making up ground behind the camera as a director.
This latest film THE TOWN has him acting in the lead role as well – and he's pretty good. Jeremy Renner (THE HURT LOCKER) is better but he's got the richer role. In fact – give Renner an Oscar now. The guy is good. His style reminds me of Russell Crowe. And his easy way with props – ie high-powered weaponry – is ballistic and balletic. An assault rifle is a true extension of his arm.
Is THE TOWN another love letter to Ben's home town of Boston? Yeah. The stats on inherited criminality in Charlestown set the scene. People have been going into the family business for centuries. The family business of Charlestown is bank robbery.
The cast is solid. Pete Postlethwaite is a florist – but not just a florist. Mad Men's Jon Hamm leads the FBI team (they should have changed his hair from his Mad Men side-parted cut. For a minute there I thought they called Don Draper from Sterling Cooper Draper Pryce to come and solve a major crime spree.) Blake Lively got the girl role but it didn't sink into a straight stereotype though she came a bit close for comfort from time to time. And Chris Cooper. Great actor. Does he ever put in a less than authentic performance? I haven't seen it happen.
I'm a big fan of the costume criminal. Great to see a bit of a homage to LOTR Ringwraiths – or perhaps the Grim Reaper. And the 'nuns with guns' theme went down a treat.
There are some genuinely comedic moments that didn't feel contrived or forced. And while I enjoyed every moment of the suspense, I knew some other people might have a moral objection to what the film tries to remind us of – that crims have careers they care about; that sometimes they get burned out and need a seachange; that they have families, romantic dilemmas and of course – feelings.
For fans of 2nd unit action – you can look forward to a high body count – car bodies. I haven't seen this much mechanical carnage since maybe THE BLUES BROTHERS.
So overall – a great film that had the audience totally engrossed and dead silent.
A couple of annoying numbnuts behind me decided the soundtrack during act 3 would benefit from their fat fists digging around a garbage bag of crisps then loudly masticating and digesting the shoddy fake food. Why can't people just go watch a movie and put down the feedbag for 2 hours? I mean, not even newborns need that much constant food.
Can't wait for cinemas to sell giant bags of shut the hell up.
Anyway – go see THE TOWN. It's a good ride.
**** POSSIBLE SPOILER ALERT *****
Tattoo plays a pivotal role but script fault of final draft as it never resolves. You'll know what i mean when you see the film.