The Town

Photo: allmoviephoto.com

Starring Ben Affleck, Jeremy Renner, Jon Hamm, Rebecca Hall and Blake Lively. Directed by Ben Affleck. 130 minutes. 14A

When I first found out about The Town, I'd only caught glimpses of the trailer so I wasn't sure what it was about. But I was seriously hoping it would be a creepy horror-thriller after seeing those droopy nuns' masks. Then through all the TIFF buzz, I heard it was a crime drama. Major letdown. But I gave it a chance anyway. Could it really be that bad with such an A-list cast? And really, what kind of sick bank robbers really hijack banks in nuns' masks?

Turns out, it was just worth it. That's not to say it wow-ed but it was far from a flop too. It felt just barely, though undeniably, worth that painful $12. (Times two plus popcorn.)

The Town follows Doug MacRay (Ben Affleck) and his bank-robbing team through the aftermath of the job that changes their lives. There's really not much to say without giving it away, other than that FBI agent Adam Frawley (Jon Hamm) is close on their trail. Oh, and message to my fellow Losties: The Man in Black (Titus Welliver) plays Frawley's trusty sidekick. If you're still pining over the departure of our dear, beloved epic plane wreck drama (who isn't), this appearance alone will help soothe the wound just a little.

The acting, like the film and story in general, were expectedly well-done, save for Rebecca Hall who plays the scarred bank-worker Claire Keesey and just reminds us all again how much she really needs to be given bigger, more moving roles.

Although Affleck's acting was just as predicted, his directing was a whole lot more impressive. Maybe I underestimate Affleck's skill in the film industry but his sharp pans and unstable stills really brought a sense of realism to the film and pushed the narrative forward. Affleck, your resume seems to advise you staying off-screen, pen-in-hand or behind the lens. Please heed. B

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