Whoa... I know it's been a minute. Things have been hectic in the life of Mr. Smiff, and for some reason I let that stagnate my writing. My bad...
So what brought me back? A promise to a friend that after I saw the new Affleck-directed movie, The Town, that I would write a review. Not one to break a promise, here I am, keeping my word.
Certainly a cops-and-robbers movie intent on recapturing the chilling suspense and brazen emotion of movies such as Heat and The Departed, the storyline in The Town revolves around a small gang of Boston bank robbers and the federale intent on bringing them to justice. Of course, these are no ordinary bank robbers... No, these elusive thieves live in the ghetto of Charlestown (aka "The Town") which is apparently a breeding ground for only the finest of bank robbers. The leader of the gang is played by none other than Ben Affleck (Dogma, Daredevil, Gigli) who also directed the film. Now I know, the idea of Affleck playing a crime boss is somewhat tough to imagine, but he does a decent - if not believable - job and was smart enough to cast Jeremy Renner (The Hurt Locker) as his trusty and rather unstable second in command. The rest of the cast is filled with familiar-yet-unrecognizable faces and names who all do a pretty darn good job in their respective roles.
Through the film, Affleck takes us to and through his clearly imagined rough-and-tumble home-town of Boston where the law is apparently everywhere yet incapable of stopping his gang from victimizing bank after bank so long as he is masterminding the schemes. Naturally, Ben's character quickly falls in love with a witness to one of the bank robbers (Rebecca Hall) who is not aware of his identity. Not surprisingly, she is a very plain white girl. More surprising, she is NOT played by Elektra - err - Jennifer Garner. This twist (the part about her being a witness, not the part about her not being his real life wife) makes for an interesting storyline, and I must say they do a good job of not slowing the movie down with boring banter. This is, after all, an action movie!
Eventually Ben's character, being a nice-guy at heart and merely a product of his super-ghetto environment, decides he wants out of the game... And the plot again thickens.
While rather unbelievable, I submit that this action drama was done pretty darn well. There are some compelling scenes, and some cornball scenes. A few very good chase scenes and a good climax. Plus a recurring theme that snitching is not cool. Not unlike a Friday night at the club. The only real gripes I'd have are a) I don't think there were ANY minorities in the movie, b) the over-inflated and annoying Boston accents, and c) the fact that everyone in the movie was borderline stupid, except for Ben Affleck, and naturally, his father (played convincingly by Chris Cooper).
Other than that, it was a good date night flick. I won't be buying it on DVD though. Good standalone movie, but certainly no Scorsese or De Niro masterpiece. B+