Movie Mind Says: Go To Movie Theater
If You Like This You Should Watch: The Italian Job, Domino
Better Than: The Bank Job
Worse Than: Heat, The Departed
Starring: Ben Affleck, Jeremy Renner, Jon Hamm, Rebecca Hall
A funny thing happened to Ben Affleck during his new bank caper film, The Town: he learned how to act. He puts in his best performance since Good Will Hunting, hands down. Of course, a little deeper digging will reveal that between those two aforementioned performances you will see a stark reality. Ben Affleck can play one of the best obnoxious Boston-accented Beantown-punk roles in the film biz. Of course, his performances outside that role led him to stay behind the camera. But enough bashing of Mr. Affleck because he puts together a dynamite film that is action-packed, exciting, well-shot, and surprisingly well-acted. The only thing is, you might get a sneaky suspicion that you’ve seen it before.
The Movie Mind has a firm stance on unoriginal films; I don’t care for them. However, every now and then a film comes around with a renewed view of an old concept and breathes new life into it. In this instance, The Town is a complete dead-ringer for Heat. Just about every single scene, character, and plotline is an adaptation from the great 1990’s heist film starring Bobby DeNiro and Al Pacino. It got to the point where I was comparing shot to shot what happened in Heat as the film went on. Now you all know that I am not a movie snob, nor do I ever want to sound like one, so I am particularly careful when mentioning something that could be construed as such. Believe me that in this instance it is as plain as day how obvious the parallels are. With that said, I can give a whole-hearted recommendation and appreciation for The Town. While Affleck may have ripped the script directly from the Heat recycle-bin, he executes it perfectly inside his Irish-mafia inspired Boston setting. I’ll give it to the guy, if there’s one thing he knows, it’s Boston citizens and scenery. The film was shot exclusively in Massachusetts which lends an authentic feel of the surroundings.
Affleck also manages to assemble an excellent cast with Jeremy Renner leading the way and Mad Men’s Jon Hamm as the scene-stealer. I am not a dedicated viewer of Mad Men, but after witnessing Hamm’s performance I just might become one. Slaine appears again (Gone Baby Gone) with another performance as a legitimate Boston bad-ass and Blake Lively overshadows Rebecca Hall in the female counterpart arena. All in all, this cast comes together nicely and Ben shows that he is as talented as little bro Casey behind the camera. The most amazing part still might be that his performance in front of it actually helped his cause.
Another key element in the success of this movie is how authentic and realistic the action scenes are portrayed. The shootouts look like what happens when real bullets start flying and the chase scenes make your heart race. There are no ridiculous explosions and special effects like in the blockbuster action films that end up taking away from the movie in the end. Ben definitely has the touch for producing that onscreen realism that makes a film succeed. So make sure you don’t watch Heat right before going to the theater and you should be in good shape. Sit back, enjoy, and join me in hoping there’s another movie about some dudes from Boston that needs Ben’s golden touch.
Interesting Cameo Appearance: Pete Postlethwaite (known for one of the greatest movie roles of all-time as the eerie front-man, Kobayashi, in The Usual Suspects) as Fergie, Irish gangster and setup guy.
FBI S.A. Adam Frawley: This is the not f**king around crew so get me something that looks like a print because this not f**king around thing is about to go both ways.
Doug MacRay: We gotta do somethin’. I can’t tell you what it is, you can never ask me about it after we’re done, and we’re gonna hurt some people.
James Coughlin: …Whose car we takin’?
Claire Keesey: Did you say your name was Jim or Gem?
James Coughlin: Well, huh, it’s kinda both. The teacher’s use to always say, “Here take this one. He’s a gem.”
James Coughlin: If we get jammed up, we’re holding court on the street.
Doug MacRay: I’m thinking about making a change…
Stephen MacRay: “Making a change,” either you got heat or you don’t.
James Coughlin: You grew up right here! Same rules that I did.