The Town

Writer: Ben Affleck/Peter Craig/Aaron Stockard

Ben Affleck should have started directing years ago. After Gone Baby Gone he had eyes all over him, and not without good reason has praise for The Town been through the roof.

He plays a working class hood with a heart in a violent Boston neighbourhood where an opening voiceover tells us there are more bank robbers than anywhere else in the world.

Doug leads a gang of robbers along with his slightly psychotic friend James (Renner). When the crew knocks over a bank early on they take pretty young clerk Claire (Hall) hostage to take the heat off themselves.

When they learn she's been to the FBI, James wants nothing more than to put a bullet in the back of her head, but Doug promises to take care of it, so he approaches the girl to find out if she knows enough to finger them and promptly falls in love with her.

He realises Claire's his ticket out, but extricating himself from his career of choice thanks to his scary partner or their demanding backer (Postlethwaite) isn't going to be easy, and he's soon roped into the fabled final job – knocking over the baseball stadium while a game's going on.

There's a sharply gritty edge, but I found it had a lot of 'movie-like' flourishes to be very realistic. The bursts of action in the robberies and their aftermaths are a little too cinematic, but it definitely cements Affleck further as a director to watch.

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