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The Town – movie review
I didn’t know how to feel about The Town before I saw it. It seemed like an interesting movie, but, I thought, as a movie about bank robberies and armored truck heists, it would be too similar to Takers for its own good. But The Town stands out on its own.
The Town does an excellent job in separating who you’re rooting for from who you’re against. From the bank heist at the beginning of the movie, they set Doug up to be the guy you want to like. During the heist, he’s the one who keeps Claire calm, telling her to take her time with opening the safe when she gets nervous and telling her everything will be okay when things go sour and they have to take her hostage. Of course, you also automatically feel bad for Claire, because she didn’t do anything and all these things were happening to her. Jim and Krista make you nervous, because while they do care about Doug, they also have their own reasons for wanting Claire out of the picture. We don’t like F.B.I. agent Adam Frawley because he makes it very clear he will do anything to make sure Doug ends up not just in prison, but dead. There is very little black and white when it comes to whether or not you like a character in this movie, which makes it way easier to care about the characters.
The heists in The Town are designed to be suspenseful and make the audience wonder what’s going to happen. A very good example of this is one where Doug’s crew dress up as nuns and stick up an armored truck. The cops were nearby when it happened, and they stayed on the crew’s ass no matter what maneuvers the driver made or how many shots were fired by the rest of the crew. You’re almost certain that the cops might actually catch them, because you just can’t imagine any way for them to get out of it. However, the movie is like watching a chess game between two well-matched players. Each side knows what the other is thinking, just one side is one step ahead of the other. It keeps you on the edge of your seat wondering how it’s going to turn out.
The Town has great camera work. Quick cuts and close-ups are only used during action sequences, with the shakiness kept to a minimum. If it’s not an action sequence, it’s filmed like any other drama. This also actually hints at how the scene might turn out – Doug is in trouble when the shots are quick, and everything is fine when they’re not. It’s an effective use of action shots as a device.
Ben Affleck gave a great performance as Doug. We learn about his past in short bursts throughout the movie; while it’s usually through his relationship with Claire, some parts we learn from Adam, Jim, Doug’s dad, and the florist. Doug led a tragic childhood, but as a young adult he had a chance to get out of town when he got drafted by a hockey team. Unfortunately, he blew it and ended up in the “family business.” His own father in prison, he was taken in by Jim’s family, and the two are like brothers. Doug wants out of Charlestown, and we want it for him. Ben Affleck also did a great job directing the film. From the start of the movie, you get sucked in, and you never lose interest.
Rebecca Hall was okay as Claire. At the beginning of The Town, her sole role was as a victim, and she played that well. Once she starts a relationship with Doug, though, our concern for her is mostly because of Doug’s love for her. While it’s hinted at that she’s more open with the relationship than Doug is, we actually learn less about her throughout the movie. However, she’s a totally believable character and whether or not we only care about her because Doug does, we do care about Claire.
There was nothing about The Town that I didn’t like. It told a great story with characters I cared about and played with all of my emotions throughout. It’s a perfect mix of action and drama that’s about so much more than Charlestown bank robberies.