Films To Watch Before You Die #93 – The Town (2010)

D.J. Haza presents the next entry in his series of films to watch before you die…

The Town, 2010.

Directed by Ben Affleck.
Starring Ben Affleck, Jon Hamm, Rebecca Hall, Blake Lively, Jeremy Renner, Chris Cooper and Pete Postlethwaite.

The Town is a well crafted crime story adapted from the Chuck Hogan novel Prince of Thieves and follows the story of a group of thieving friends from the bank robbing capital of the world – Charlestown, Boston.

Doug MacRay (Affleck), Jem Coughlin (Renner) and their accomplices rob a Boston bank at gunpoint. The carefully planned and executed heist works a treat until someone raises the alarm. Jem beats the bank manager and takes Claire Keesey (Hall) hostage before dropping her off blindfolded on the edge of town and taking her drivers licence.

As the guys try to lay low and keep their heads down they realise that Claire lives only a few blocks away from them in Charlestown and – fearing they could get recognised – Jem offers to solve the situation. Fearing actions from Jem that he really doesn’t want to be involved with, Doug offers to keep an eye on her and make sure she’s not looking to blow their cover. However, as Doug follows Claire the pair run into each other and strike up a friendship.

Smitten by each other the pair begin dating, with Doug insisting to Jem that it’s strictly business. With the FBI on their tails and tracking them everywhere they go, the gang start to feel the heat and Special Agent Adam Frawley (Hamm) makes it clear he is going to take them down. When pressure comes from the head of local organised crime, Fergie (Postlethwaite), to take on another job for even bigger rewards, Doug doesn’t want to get involved and risk jail. Fergie blackmails Doug with threats against Claire and Jem applies his own pressure to Doug. Can the gang get in and out in one piece with several million dollars as their prize or will their past catch up with them?

The Town is an excellent film that maintains engagement and excitement from start to finish, despite not being action packed through out. The characters are fantastically written individuals that the average person can identify with, despite their bank robbing habits, and the story is well crafted.

The Town is a film you must see before you die as it was co-written and directed by none other than Ben Affleck and despite the negative press he has received in the past (and the major flops he has starred in) the writing, direction and his acting in this film have redeemed any of his previous short comings. I can’t believe I’m saying this, but I look forward to his next film and will be searching out his previous outing as a director on Gone Baby Gone.

D.J. Haza

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