The Town review by Alyse Garner - Cinema Paradiso
The most recent directorial offering from star Ben Affleck is not unlike his debut movie Gone Baby Gone. Set in the violent crime-ridden heart of Boston, Charlestown The Town tells the story of a young man’s desire to escape the inevitable pull of the criminal underworld in his neighbourhood.
Affleck plays Doug MacRay, a thief who becomes involved with the once kidnapped bank manager of a previous heist. His affair with Claire (Rebecca Hall) leads him to question his own motives and desire to remain in the dark underbelly of Boston. Under this fog MacRay and his companions plan their next, and what MacRay hopes to be, final heist. However an FBI Agent (Jon Hamm) is hot on their heels and the tyrannical world of organised crime begins to crumble around them.
In many ways the movie highlights some very real issues facing many a young American, it questions the inevitability of a criminal future in some of the US’s poorest areas and asks what one is supposed to do when both family and need force you into unpleasant situations.
The film is clearly meant to be a troubling thriller, however it’s scenery seems to lack the truly seedy and gritty edge required to truly drive the message home. The film also lacks the elegance and subtlety of many an older thriller which leaves it feeling a little infantile. The action sequences are as you would expect them to be; violent and in keeping with their contemporaries. The film has a distinctily water-down feeling to it, making it feel as though it is more a cops and robbers movies for young men than an intelligent thriller for a more elite audience. This is not to say it is dumb or dull at all, just somewhat predictable.
Overall the movie is adequate, enjoyable and intriguing, yet it bares no comparison to dark noir-esque roots and is, in many ways, a disappointment after the painful excellence of Gone Baby Gone.