Let’s admit to a solemn truth here: heist flicks are as formulaic as any other genre film. One grand heist leads to another, more often than not there is at least one car chase, the alpha male falls for a woman, said male decides to leave his life of crime, which leads to his final escape, be that successful or not.
Let’s now subscribe to another truth, this one more recent: Ben Affleck has matured well beyond his Armageddon and Pearl Harbor foibles both in front of and, perhaps even more importantly, behind the camera. The Town is a perfectly-executed example of the heist formula and proves that Affleck, in his second outing as a director, is one helluva storyteller.
Based on the Chuck Hogan novel Prince Of Thieves, The Town follows a bank robbing troupe led by Affleck with Academy Award nominee Jeremy Renner along for the ride and overseen by the late, great Pete Postlethwaite all while being pursued by Jon Hamm’s G-Man. Aside from the life-as-a-criminal angle, significant insight is given to Affleck and Renner’s relationship, complete with daddy-issues – performed in a killer scene by Chris Cooper – and the budding romance with Rebecca Hall. The drama in these characters’ lives proves to be just as strong and important as that of the robberies themselves.
And that grand heist? None other than the Holt Grail of all things Boston, the theft of ticket sales from Fenway Stadium. Affleck treats us all by filming inside the internal works of the shrine known as the Green Monster. Affleck’s direction throughout the film is meticulous and tight showing the audience his exact view on the story itself.
The Town is an entertaining, well-executed movie and a great vehicle for spotlighting Affleck’s talents. Also, it should be noted, this is the film that got Renner his recent super-hero and spy gigs and, more importantly, should have brought him an Oscar as well, the absence of which is the true crime here.