Thursday, October 14, 2010

The Town: Film Review

I went along to the premiere screening at Reading last night with little knowledge about this film’s plot or cast. Despite knowing many intimacies of his personal life with Gwyneth and the Jennifers, I wasn’t too familiar with Ben Affleck’s cinematic career. However I developed an appreciation for his acting talent as the film progressed, and the revelation that he also screenwrote and directed the film when the final credits rolled was a pleasant surprise (to me, because I don’t research).

I love heist movies, so the opening scene grabbed me immediately. Doug (Ben Affleck), Jem (Jeremy Renner) and two of their friends storm in to rob a Boston bank, with Halloween masks hiding their faces. Claire (Rebecca Hall) is quickly introduced as the bank manager, who is forced to open the bank safe and then briefly taken as a hostage. My favourite aspect of this scene is the way it is fragmented with silent CCTV footage, giving each cut back to the bank a loud, violent, gunshot-like impact.

I enjoyed Hall’s performance as Claire right from this beginning (although it took me at least half the film to work out I recognised her from The Prestige which was distracting). I enjoy films that give the audience their first impression of a character in an extreme situation, and her fearful, slow walk to the water’s edge at the end of this (quite long) opening sequence was shot beautifully.

From the bank robbery onwards, The Town extends on the action, and also brings in a great deal of drama and romance.

Doug begins self-preserving surveillance of Claire, trying to make sure she has nothing on them to pass on to the FBI. They soon share a charming encounter in Claire’s local laundromat; she breaks down crying and he makes her giggle. A relationship quickly develops (which she says her friend described as a “rebound from the bank robbery” later in the film).

I felt the subplot about Doug’s mother was dwelled on too much throughout the film, considering how little value it added to the conclusion; and probably could have been cut out altogether.

I didn’t really like the character of Krista (Blake Lively), but this too was due to her weak ties to the central plot, and not a reflection on Lively’s performance. In her first scene I assumed she was Doug’s paid whore, though we soon learn she’s just a bit drug fucked, has a daughter and a history with Doug, and is also Jem’s sister. She had very little screen time with Doug throughout the film, so her emotional outbursts towards the end came across a little unconvincing.

The variety within the film kept a great pace- I found myself just beginning to tire of the ‘sap’ when another action sequence would begin. There are a few lackluster scenes, but overall I thought it was a great film, and I was impressed by it even before I knew the director. I definitely recommend you check it out.


Jamie said... Best Blogger Tips[Reply to comment]Best Blogger Templates

I saw the town and absolutely loved it. When I left the theater, my boyfriend and I couldn't stop talking about it. You make some really great points that I never thought about before (Blake Lively's character and his story with his mom) and I agree. I'm glad you liked it overall, because I thought it was awesome. =]

Lauren said... Best Blogger Tips[Reply to comment]Best Blogger Templates

I haven't seen this yet, but I loved Ben Affleck's last film he directed, which was "Gone Baby Gone". His little brother Casey Affleck stars in it and I really enjoyed it. It's maybe worth seeing if you liked this.