Starring: Ben Affleck, Jeremy Renner, Rebecca Hall
Director: Ben Affleck
Running Time: 125 mins
The Town is an American film about a longtime thief who struggles to balance his feelings for a woman connected to one of his past bank heists, all the while planning a new hit while under the surveillance of the FBI.
This is a very interesting film. Not only is it an exciting crime thriller, but it’s also a riveting and impressively deep drama that proves both an intimate and emotional watch as well as a bittersweet story that delves into the issues faced by many living in working class areas in big cities.
In general, The Town isn’t a film that’s particularly typical of any genre. It has great thrills, and its bank heist sequences are incredibly exciting to watch, all the while featuring the hard-hitting grit that makes the crime genre work so well, meaning that you can watch it and enjoy it simply in that light.
However, what impressed me most about this film was the fact that things go so much further than that, and the fact that it’s really more of a drama than a typical crime movie. Above all, its intimate focus on the central character, played by Ben Affleck, is what makes it stand out so much.
While the action that the character is involved in is exciting, I was most engrossed by the ways in which the film brings light to his own personal struggles, particularly that of trying to forge a normal life for himself in the midst of a difficult situation that has driven him to a life of crime.
On the one hand, we focus on his romance with the woman who he once kidnapped during a bank heist, and his struggles to maintain a strong relationship with her despite the burden of his past actions looming over him. That side of the story was undoubtedly the most impressive for me, as it’s not often that you see a film that looks on the outside like a hard-hitting crime thriller put so much focus onto a very intimate romantic plot, but it’s a vital element to the main character’s development that I found absolutely riveting.
On the other hand, the film’s most socially conscious plot element is its focus on how many people living in crime-ridden neighbourhoods are forced into a life of crime simply because there’s no other way, despite the fact that they may desire to live a different life. While the gang of thieves includes a gun-toting hooligan in Jeremy Renner’s character, that stereotype is heavily contrasted by Ben Affleck’s character, who shows strong signs of remorse and frustration at his situation, wanting to have a normal life and a normal romance, but being unable to due to his surroundings and inability to climb out.
As a result, The Town is an absolutely riveting watch from start to finish, managing to go further than being just a normal crime thriller, and featuring both intimate emotional and fascinating social drama throughout.
Ben Affleck does a great job at directing the film, balancing the gritty crime perfectly with the drama. However, if there is one complaint that I do have with The Town, it’s the fact that it’s all a little too slow. Now, given the dramatic nature of the story, there’s no need for the film to move along at a million miles per hour, but there are times throughout when the film feels like it’s dragging its feet a little on certain plot points, and just makes watching it a little more heavy-going than it could have been in a perfect scenario.
Overall, however, I really liked The Town. A great crime thriller with exciting action and grit throughout, but also a genuinely enthralling drama with fascinating and powerful drama from start to finish, it’s a riveting watch at every moment, and that’s why I’m giving it a 7.9.