The Town directed by Ben Affleck (Warner Bros. and Legendary Pictures, R, 125 minutes)
Based in Charlestown, a neighborhood of Boston, the Town tells the story of a washed-up hockey player turned bank robber caught in the vicious cycle of crime. After a successful robbery, the main character – Doug MacRay (Ben Affleck) – volunteers to intimidate a hostage (Claire played by Rebecca Hall) after discovering that she lives four blocks away from the thieves’ home base. While being observed in a Laundromat, the hostage approaches Doug asking for some change. After some basic dialogue, Doug asks Claire out on a date, setting in motion a story of love, crime, and deceit.
Despite the fact that the Town kept me entertained, the film left me unchallenged and indifferent. The story is straightforward and the acting mostly simplistic. There were positives however. Jeremy Renner played a persuasive character, a convicted felon one strike away from life in prison. In addition, the film depicted the cyclical nature of crime. Countless times throughout the movie, our protagonist struggled with the direction of his life. Whether through force or through natural inhibitions, Doug found himself eventually at square one, prepping for the next bank job. Lastly, I find the current trend of making a morally questionable person the protagonist intriguing. As a viewer, I found myself simultaneously rooting for a character I found repulsive. Obviously, the character contains enough pious nuggets that the moral failings become forgivable.
With an aesthetic similar to Gone, Baby, Gone – Affleck’s first major motion picture credit as director, the Town tells an entertaining story. The movie contains no production qualities or profound motifs running through the movie that would move it beyond entertaining to the category of otherworldly. There are, however, many worse movies upon which one could spend his or her money.