Tuesday, January 18, 2011

The Town (Ben Affleck)

The experience-hardened, scary nun costume-wearing bank robbers in "The Town".

Film Review Archive (date seen: December 23, 2010)

Now, let's not be too hard on Ben Affleck. He indeed has already proved his worth courtesy of the impressive "Gone Baby Gone" (and not even mentioning his Oscar-winning "Good Will Hunting" writing stint). So at least for me, "The Town" is just a furthering proof that he's not just a directorial one-hit wonder.

In many ways, this film is the complete opposite of his previous directorial effort mentioned above. While the first raises complex questions about the moralities of actions (I've written a philosophical analysis about the film in my Humanities class), "The Town" is, more or less, armed with a plot that's nothing new in terms of its genre and contains bank heists more concerned about the heat of the moment than its consequences. But enhanced by Affleck's consistent handling to keep the film taut and armed with great performances particularly by Jeremy Renner and Blake Lively, the film maintained a compelling atmosphere throughout. The action sequences, as if it's not mentioned by others before, are quite reminiscent of the opening robbery scene in "The Dark Knight", which was of course inspired by Michael Mann's "Heat", so I think we're dealing with a two layer deep influence here.

I must admit that I'm surprised about the climactic pay-off though as I have not seen the trailer prior to watching this (only the disruptive internet ads), but it is nevertheless a great action set piece; yet another revelation for Affleck's behind-the-scene prowess: That he can also handle flipping trucks over and crashing cars under. I came to see "The Town" to be emotionally stimulated by the tale of a redemptive man of crime struggling to get out of a blue-collar hellhole. Yes, I've certainly got hints of that, but I've never expected the overwhelming dominance of some good old slam-bang action.


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