The Town: Finding the human in crime

Ben Affleck has seen pretty ridiculously high reviews for a relatively new actor-turned-director. Argo nabbed him a host of awards,including the prestigious Best Picture Award,while ironically leaving him in the cold for Best Director.There have only been three oscar-winning films whose director’s have not at least been nominated for directorial achievement…but Ben Affleck needn’t be too bothered. Some may diss the man’s acting, but his creative prowess is not to be ridiculed. Eileen’s haunting poster is an ode to the film’s unsettling and tense vibe; This is by far the best burglary movie I’ve ever seen.

The interesting thing is that this is a crime movie with real heart. And I mean real heart. Not the contrived nonsense that most movies throw in just to dip their feet in shallow waters of characterization and call it a day. Remove The Town’s stylish exterior of burglars dressed in striking nun costumes, brazenly robbing banks with guns blazing – You get a story with a surprising amount of emotional punch. Backstories fill a void that most action films leave gaping, while intense dialogue and conversation are hallmarks of this tightly wound crime thriller.

Ben Affleck stars alongside Jeremy Renner, Rebecca Hall and John Hamm to deliver a modern crime classic. The infamous crime scene in Boston frames the film, with excerpts of it’s residents who remain proud of it’s shady heritage. As we see Doug (Ben Affleck) and crew bust banks in broad daylight, we get the feeling that they’re doing it because they were meant to. Just like the title itself, ‘The Town’ constantly portrays the burglars in a non-judgemental light, constantly providing aspects of their past to highlight the inevitability of their plight. The Town manages to toe the fine line between the legality of the team’s acts and their very human qualities. Without trying to make the bad guys too smart, desperate, warped nor suave, the film humanizes it’s very flawed characters.

The cat-and-mouse chase is nothing overtly special. John Hamm plays FBI agent Adam Frawley who’s as straight as a line. Jeremy Renner plays the slightly hot-headed and rash James. Blake Lively is the troubled girlfriend who can’t seem to be off drugs at any given point. But the real stars are Ben Affleck and Rebecca Hall. Their encounter soon blossoms into a close relationship that allows for some very innocent yet intensified dialogue exchanges. The writing team and cinematographer did an excellent job capturing the gravitas of the movie’s dialogue scenes.  There are many moments that reconcile the human and the criminal, often coming right after scenes of crime and vice. The film leaves me in a constant state of flux because this movie has clearly made it’s antagonists the sympathetic protagonists.

The movie moulds the traditional crime narrative into its own humanizing qualities. Even ‘good’ crime films like Heat proliferates and plays up the art of the heist instead of developing the man behind the mask. For as much as the mask can be a symbol of nefarious deception,vice and violence, The Town unmasks the crimes to reveal the human, in all his flawed and redeeming qualities, who only knows one way to live.

Rating: 8.4/10

Thank you for letting me use your AWESOME poster Eileen 😊 😊 😊. I was scrolling through twitter till I saw this image being retweeted by someone and then I came across her works. So check her posters out if you can!!

2 Comments Add yours

  1. emmakwall says:

    This is a great film! And I LOVE Gone Baby Gone as well. Both of those films touched me a lot more than Argo, I have to say.

    Great review Jia! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. jwforeva says:

      Woo 🙂 Oh yeah same here, I didn’t think Argo was all that brilliant. I think the scene where Jeremy Renner takes a final sip of the milkshake at the end really captures the spirit of the film.
      Uhm,yeaaah about that, I haven’t seen gone baby gone. Oops haha!


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