The Town (Guest Review)

A winning cast and a powerful and action-packed screenplay are set against Boston’s Charlestown neighborhood in Ben Affleck’s latest tribute to his beloved Beantown:  The Town.  Charlestown is The Town and it’s identified early in the film as the “Bank Robbery Capital of America.” Affleck  plays Doug MacRay, the leader of a brutal and fearless bank robbery team. 

The movie wastes no time getting into high flying action as we’re introduced to Affleck and his cronies doing what they know best: robbing banks with bullets firing and car chases up and down the narrow streets of Charlestown.  Stealing the spotlight nearly from the start is Jeremy Renner playing Doug MacRay’s lifelong friend James Coughlin. The movie takes shape as the robbers realize the bank manager they took hostage to escape their last bank heist is a Charlestown neighbor (Rebecca Hall playing Claire Keesey). Ben Affleck’s character volunteers to tail her and ascertain whether she has identified any of them.  Meanwhile, the FBI is investigating the bank robbery and Jon Hamm of television’s Mad Men fame plays FBI special agent Adam Frawley.

As Ben Affleck’s character develops, we learn he is a recovering alcoholic who is looking to escape both the bank robbery racket and his Charlestown neighborhood.  He’s also falling for the attractive bank manager he’s supposed to be tailing while FBI Agent Frawley moves closer to connect MacRay and his pals with the robbery. Lots of twists and turns in this film which culminates in an amazing final heist at a famous Boston landmark.               

I give The Town five stars.  The movie’s Charlestown settings and characters are rich and authentic.  It’s one of those cops and robbers movies where the bad guys are so expressive, believable and entertaining, that you find yourself rooting for them to succeed.  Kudos also to Blake Lively for her terrific portrayal of Ben Affleck’s character’s one-time love interest Krista Coughlin – a local Townie whose life is desperate and pathetic.  A great performance also by Pete Postlethwaite,  playing Fergus ‘Fergie’ Colm, the cold and calculating behind-the-scenes leader of the bank robbery team.  If you know anyone from Charlestown, Massachusetts (as I do) and know how parochial these Townies are, you’ll really enjoy The Town.

(Post written by Guest Contributor James McNamara)

The Town

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