My take on The Town
The Town, directed, starring, and co-written by Ben Affleck, is both a gritty drama and an action picture.
As you watch it, there is no doubt that Affleck is an actor’s director. There are a slew of strong performances here, notably Jeremy Renner (The Hurt Locker), Blake Lively (who I’d never seen…haven’t watched Gossip Girl) and Rebecca Hall.
Clearly, Affleck put performances first…there are a few scenes that may suffer from this, where the actor is front and center in the camera for a bit too long. There are times when scenes like that seem…as though they are shot in someone’s apartment, without careful attention to lighting and set dressing. That may be because the actor’s best shot is taken, not necessarily the best shot overall.
However, the action scenes are handled well. In particular, there is a great thing done with sound in one scene. The car chases, which can be hard to do, are exciting without being confusing. We always know what’s happening in the scenes…a nice change from some of the jumpy shot stuff that’s been inspired by Bourne.
For me, though, the movie eventually got too big. Where I liked it the best was when we were seeing the relationships between people (particularly Affleck and Renner, but Affleck and Hall as well). When it got to be more of a crime/heist movie…that interested me less.
Jon Hamm also appears here, but doesn’t seem to find a real depth to his FBI agent. I haven’t seen Mad Men (yes, I watch TV, but not those two so far), and this didn’t make me want to see it, particularly. It may be that Affleck wanted to make the criminals more interesting, but Titus Welliver’s second-in-command gives a striking performance.
Others also will keep you watching: the always reliable Pete Postlethwaite; Chris Cooper; and the city of Boston, lovingly “directed” by Affleck.
Is the movie worth seeing? Yes…for some of the performances, certainly. I don’t think it’s one of the greats…for me, it lost its way by trying to have too broad a focus. Will it get Oscar noms? Possibly…I could see sound editing, costumes, and maybe a couple of acting noms (I don’t see one for Affleck here, by the way…he was good, but overshadowed by Renner).
What did you think? Feel free to let me know.
This post by Bufo Calvin originally appeared in the The Measured Circle