Monday, May 16, 2011

The Town

I watched Ben Affleck’s movie The Town more than a week ago, but I’ve had troubles sitting down to write the review. After finishing the movie, I wasn’t entirely sure how I felt about it, and, over time, no more clarity has been found.

The Town takes place in Boston’s Charlestown neighborhood, a location rife with crime, particularly bank and armored truck robberies. Doug (Affleck) and a group of his buddies make their living by performing these robberies, and the movie opens will the group robbing a bank managed by Claire (Rebecca Hall). Though it’s a little rocky, the guys eventually end up pulling off the robbery, but not without killing a guard and taking Claire as an incredibly temporary hostage. However, more problems are to come. This robbery causes FBI Agent Frawley (Jon Hamm) to begin to seek out the guys. Additionally, Claire lives in the same neighborhood as Doug and when the two meet at a Laundromat, they begin to fall in love (Doug recognizes Claire, she does not recognize him).

This relationship was the thing that bothered me about The Town. I couldn’t understand how Doug would allow himself to spend enough time with Claire to fall for her, and I also didn’t get how they fell in love so fast. I know The Town is an action movie, and wasting time on scenes developing a romantic relationship is probably not what the audience wants, but it was this (and, oddly enough, not the robberies and violence) that kept the movie from being believable to me.

The Town is without a doubt an action movie (though one with a bit more depth than the typical action fare, I assume). As this blog has already made clear, action movies are not my favorite. However, The Town was the first action movie I’ve seen for this project where the car-chases and gunfights didn’t seem gratuitous. Though they still aren’t things I particularly enjoy watching, they fit within the story and didn’t distract me.

I appreciated that The Town did not have distinct lines drawn between good and bad characters. Typically, you’d be led to root for either the FBI agent or the robbers, but The Town did no such leading. Sure, the robbers were wrong to steal and kill, but the movie showed the personalities behind their tough-guy characters and explained how they got in that situation. Conversely, it was clear that Agent Frawley was just doing his job—he wasn’t crooked, he wasn’t malicious. I liked that characters weren’t cut and dry and that I was able to choose for myself who to support. However, instead of picking a side, I found myself not cheering for either one; I just didn’t care.

The Town gets a 3/5. It’s worth watching, but not worth buying.

Watch Jon Stewart interview Ben Affleck

Buy the DVD

And I’d like to thank Anna at the Chelsea District Library for taking my new profile picture (finally, it’s Daily Shill relevant) and writing about the Shill in the library’s e-newsletter!

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