Saturday, September 25, 2010
“The Town” (opened September 17 throughout San Diego), directed by and starring Ben Affleck, takes place in Charlestown, Boston. There, bank robbery had become a like a rite of passage from father to son.
Doug MacRay (Ben Affleck) and his cohorts are just about to finish one of their heists when somebody sets off the silent alarm. Now they are forced to take Claire Keesey (Rebecca Hall), the assistant bank manager, as a hostage to secure a safe exit from the bank. Once in the clear, they let Claire go but not without taking her license first. Later on, when they find out that she lives only a couple of blocks away from their hideout, they see this as a problem and decide to confront her. To be cautious and not take things into unwanted levels (like murder), Doug decides to go since he is the least likely to make any outrageous moves. But instead of interrogating Claire and intimidating her, he decides to get to know her and comfort her. Soon he builds a relationship with this woman, the only person who could possibly tie him and his team to the bank robbery. As Claire and Doug start find out more about each other, Doug wants to get out of Boston with her and stop robbing banks.
Now, everybody knows that nowadays it’s very difficult to find a film that’s anything more than 30% original. So of course when I heard about “The Town,” I said to myself, “It’s a bank robber movie. How original can it be?” But aside from the fact that it does have your basic, redundant, repetitive elements of a bank job film, “The Town” did have some uniqueness to it that made it pleasing to watch.
First off, you don’t usually find a lot of humor in cops and robbers films but here, I found myself listening to audience laughter quite a few times. This was due to the fact that the movie played on a lot of dramatic irony, wherein one character had no clue what the heck was going on while the audience had full comprehension of the situation. For example, when Claire says to Doug that if she ever hears her abductors speak she would most likely recognize them. But she obviously has no clue that she’s actually talking to her abductor. Also, in one of their getaways, when the four robbers think they’ve gotten away, they notice a police officer is just staring at them. Realizing he is outnumbered and out-gunned, the officer turns his head around and acts like nothing has happened. It’s this kind of humor that you’ll find in “The Town.”
Another fresh element is the addition of a love story. Usually the woman is either helping with the actual bank jobs or is not a big focus in the film, so to me it’s very odd that there is a love story intertwined with the robbing of banks. It’s very weird because Hall’s character delivers something like a twist on the femme fatale. She makes Doug lose everything he had. He loses his partners in crime, he has to flee Boston, loses contact with his father, and he loses her as well. But through those losses he does rise up and make a new life for himself.
I’m not a big Affleck fan but I have to admit, he did a good job on “The Town” (rated R for strong violence, pervasive language, some sexuality and drug use). Those little twists are what stopped this movie from being boring and predictable and turned it into a fun exciting film to watch.
--Jesus Gomez just graduated from Mount Miguel High School and is interested in becoming a film critic or writer.