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‘The Town’ was a well done movie

March 14, 2011 - Pam Rodgers
Over the weekend, I rented and watched Ben Affleck’s movie, “The Town.” It is about a career bank robber, Doug, played by Affleck, from Charlestown, Mass. At the opening of the movie, we learn that Charlestown is the “bank robbery capitol of America,” which makes me wonder why you would ever do banking in there, but I digress.

The opening sequence is very grabbing. It begins with a robbery, shocker I know. Doug and his crew of four guys adorn masks and steal unknown, large amounts of money from the bank. The bank’s distress signal is pulled and the guys need to act fast so they take the bank manager, Claire (Rebecca Hall) hostage for a short while. They switch vehicles and let her go, unharmed.

Immediately, I knew that this wasn’t going to be your happy, sunshine and roses movie, and I was right. While I can tell you, it doesn’t have a completely depressing ending, it’s not exactly a “...and they all lived happily ever after” ending either.

The basis of the movie really begins when Doug “stalks” Claire to be sure she hasn’t spoken to the FBI. They want to be sure the impromptu kidnapping won’t lead to them being arrested. Really he just follows her for a little while to be sure the FBI isn’t hanging around. Doug and Claire meet, her not knowing who he really is, and a relationship begins. Doug doesn’t tell his friends about Claire because the relationship really isn’t a good idea. She is the one person that could tell the Feds and have them thrown in prison. But Doug falls in love, so he’s wasn’t going to give that up. In fact, the relationship is causing Doug to want to leave Charlestown and start over.

As the movie progresses, you find out more of the back story of Doug and his best friend, Jem Coughlin (who is on the crew and played by Jeremy Renner). As boyhood friends, they looked out for each other like brothers, although we find that Jem is the more violent one, having spent nine years in prison for shooting a guy. There is a clear differences between the two because Doug is a criminal but it’s clear that he doesn’t kill people.

The FBI Agent, Adam Frawley was played by Jon Hamm, and he did an excellent job. So many of the things I watch portray the FBI as the brawn and not the brains of the investigative world, but this movie showed a different view. He was very smart in his pursuit of the robbers, and he wasn’t afraid to play hardball.

The real antagonist is “The Florist” (played by Pete Postlethwaite, one his last film roles R.I.P.). He was the one pulling the strings on the operations without actually getting his hands dirty. You find out that he has a history with Doug’s dad, Stephen (played by Chris Cooper in a very bit part for him).

The movie follows the normal logical paths of realization and conflict, but it is done very well. You can see the thought that was put into the plot line. Affleck’s directing is really good. You can tell he knows the business and finds a creative ways to tell his story on camera.

The movie run time is 2 hours and 5 minutes, but it doesn’t feel that long. Sure the movie has it’s slow parts, but any good story does. I liked the movie overall. I am not condoning people to run out and start robbing banks after watching the movie, that would be wrong. But the overriding theme of the movie is to start over after the wrong things. People deserve second chances.

I would recommend this movie. It’s not one that I will be watching a million times, but I appreciate good storytelling when I see it.

Other notable cast is Gossip Girl's Blake Lively who plays Jem’s sister and Doug’s former flame. Also Victor Garber has a “blink and you’ll miss him” spot at the beginning as the assistant bank manager. Also rapper Slaine who was in Affleck’s directorial debut film “Gone Baby Gone” played the driver on the robbery crew. Also rookie, Owen Burke played the fourth member of the crew.



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