It’s the classic story: man robs bank, man falls in love with bank manager. How endearing, no? In The Town, we are first made aware of the fact that Charlestown, a blue-collar neighborhood of Boston, produces more bank and armor truck robbers than anywhere else. Ben Affleck plays Doug MacRay. While I normally think that Mr. Affleck is immeasurably untalented, as the ringleader in his group of cronies, he manages to give a performance that is marginally better than normal.
His buddies are James Coughlin, Albert ‘Gloansy’ Magloan, and Desmond Elden (played in order by Jeremy Renner, Slaine, and Owen Burke). The first bank they rob gets the cops and the FBI on their tails. Jon Hamm plays the tough and gruff special agent Adam Frawley. Not looking much different than his Mad Men persona, Hamm is incredibly well-suited for this role.
The skirt that Doug has fallen for remained unharmed throughout the robbery and Doug needs to do a follow-up to make sure that she doesn’t squeal. I’m been brushing up on my cops and robbers movie lingo.
This movie is Directed by Ben Affleck. Maybe that is the reason that he gets all the chicks. That may also be the reason that he is the hero, so-to-speak. It’s kinda like when I was little and played Power Rangers with my friends. I was always the prettiest ranger, the pink ranger. And I always won. This is alarmingly like that.
So Doug and James are like brothers, see? When Doug seeks out Claire (Rebecca Hall), the brotherly love is suddenly on the rocks. James is trigger happy. When a situation gets hairy, he likes to shoot it. In the face, if possible. Anytime anything goes wrong, he makes it worse by just blowing away everyone he can. So naturally, knowing that this girl could turn them in, he wants to remove her from the situation. Not to mention Krista Coughlin (Blake Lively), sister to James, used to date Doug. There is bad blood there as well.
Doug promises he will take care of the girl and does. In the most literal sense. Doug and Rebecca share one depressing life story after another. They manage to form a real bond, but have to get real after Doug, James, and the rest of the crew pull off another robbery. Only, James is faced with complications and shoots a guard. “Now you’re like a half-off sale at a Big and Tall: Every cop is in line.” Har har har, S.A. Frawley.
They set out on their last and biggest heist… I won’t tell you where they decide to set this one, readers. But, ahem, play ball…
Anyway, if you have a good imagination, then you can probably figure out how the rest of the movie plays out. Lots of shooting, lots of yelling, costumes, money, and yes, synthetic Boston accents.
Though the movie is not bad, I think it was miscalculated in the deliver. It tries to do too much. The underlying premise is a good one and should have been concentrated on more. But, then again, Ben Affleck.
The ending is bittersweet and did not sit well with me, but I will not ruin it for you. Hollywood is full of improbabilities and I must accept it.