This Side or the Other

20 Sep

Proving that Gone Baby Gone was no fluke, Ben Affleck’s The Town is an excellent addition to the Made in Boston canon of films.

Mr. Jennifer Garner — who co-wrote, directed, and stars in this Charlestown-set story of a bank robber trying to go straight, even though he’s in too deep — may get criticized for only making movies that are based here in Beantown, but hey … why mess with success? Clearly, the guy knows the town and he makes movies that have a real sense of place and look, sound, and feel authenticious (to use a great made-up word from this film).

In The Town, Affleck plays Doug MacRay, a career criminal, who falls for Claire, a woman involved in a recent bank robbery (Rebecca Hall, from Vicky Cristina Barcelona), who doesn’t realize he was the ringleader.

Claire provides the inspiration and incentive Doug needs to turn his life around, but not before he tackles one last job: robbing Fenway Park.

At the same time, FBI Special Agent Frawley (Jon Hamm) is hot on the trail of Doug and his gang, which also includes Doug’s BFF, Jem (The Hurt Locker‘s Jeremy Renner).

Acting in The Town is excellent across the board; in addition to those mentioned, the cast also includes Pete Postlethwaite, Chris Cooper, Titus Welliver (aka Lost‘s Man in Black), and Blake Lively, whose drugged-out townie is a long way from Serena van der Woodsen.

Affleck keeps things moving, and does a particularly nice job with the robbery and chase scenes, which are staged and shot impressively.

I’m not sure Affleck was right to cast himself as Doug — his portrayal of the guy is too “nice,” especially when contrasted with Renner’s hothead, which makes you wonder why he hadn’t tried to get away from it all much sooner — but another actor also may not have been so sympathetic, and as an audience member, you want to root for his character.

You also want to root for Affleck, and The Town gives us more reason to do so. It’s an exciting, compelling, and fun film, one that does Boston proud.

I’m giving it a B+.

6 Responses to “This Side or the Other”


  1. Thunder Buddies for Life « Martin's Musings - June 28, 2012

    […] And it’s not just the characters MacFarlane likes, it’s Boston too. Ted totally feels like a local movie, with many landmarks in view, a great shout-out to Tom Brady, and some winking nods at local culture. It also features what may be the second-most exciting cinematic climax set at Fenway Park after The Town. […]

  2. Please Don’t Hurt Blake Lively! « Martin's Musings - July 5, 2012

    […] even the sight of Blake Lively looking good makes this one worthwhile. She can act — The Town proved that — but here she’s just a pretty […]

  3. The Best Bad Idea They’ve Got « Martin's Musings - October 12, 2012

    […] his attention on making a better movie. (It’s funny, because he wasn’t the strongest player in The Town […]

  4. Worth Fighting For « Martin's Musings - November 17, 2012

    […] Ben Affleck did in The Town and Gone Baby Gone, director Russell imbues the film with a real sense of Boston-area place. This […]

  5. Blake Lively vs a Shark, and Other Summer Movie Thrills | Martin's Musings - June 24, 2016

    […] producers putting Blake Lively in danger? First, Ben Affleck turned her into a drugged-up townie in The Town. Then, she got kidnapped by a Mexican drug cartel in Oliver Stone’s Savages. Now, the […]

  6. “Air” Never Quite Reaches Championship Heights | Martin's Musings - April 3, 2023

    […] soundtrack, though — a lazy filmmaking choice that’s a letdown coming from the director of The Town, Argo, and Gone Baby Gone. We get it, Ben; the movie takes place in the mid-’80s. What else […]

What say you? Leave a comment here.

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: