I don't know why everyone craps all over Ben Affleck. ¬†I know he dated Jennifer Lopez and made some awful movies, but the guy is pretty talented. ¬†Especially after making The Town, where he joins the ranks of masters like Orson Wells in the respect that he Produced, Wrote, Stared in and Directed this film. ¬†Here's the kicker too - it's great! ¬†The Town was a movie that seemed like another rip off of Martin Scorsese's The Departed, but really it's a rip off of the 1995 crime drama Heat. ¬†Both films are about what happens when a criminal lets his guard down and falls in love. ¬†I revere Heat and consider it one of the best crime dramas of all time. ¬†It's better than The Town in some aspects. ¬†That being said though, there are some things that The Town did better too (gasp!) ¬†Both have stellar casts. ¬†Heat had Robert DeNiro and his partner in crime, Val Kilmer, being chased by cop, Al Pacino. ¬†The Town has Ben Affleck and his partner in crime played by Oscar-nominated Jeremy Renner (The Hurt Locker) being chased by FBI agent, John Hamm (Mad Men, 30 Rock). ¬†Affleck writes a great sense of who these characters are and how they're a violent product of their crummy Boston environment. ¬†He crafts the dialogue well and it's always refreshing to hear him wield a Boston accent. ¬†The interplay between the characters is done well and suspenseful at times, although it's not nearly done as well as Heat did. ¬†But in The Town's defense, they achieved a near comparable level of quality in half the time that Heat did, which feels longer than the 3 hour run time it has. ¬†The one thing that The Town has over Heat though is the action sequences that are pretty epic in scope. ¬†The climax of the film is a shoot out in the bowels of Fenway Park, which I would imagine is a wet dream for anyone who loves Boston as much as they love crime. ¬†Affleck flexes his directoral muscle in this. ¬†His first attempt, Gone Baby Gone, was excellent but pulled back in the aggression of the scale. ¬†The Town doesn't pull punches and shows his skill as someone who's capable of capturing action scenes on film just as well as he captures human drama. ¬†If this is a sign of what is to come from Ben, I think we can almost forgive him for Gigli...and move on from The Summer of Benifer.
The Town (Rated R)
Gavin Grade: A