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:: The Town

Over the years it seems that people have forgotten what a fine screenwriter Ben Affleck actually is. They seem to skim over the fact that he won an Oscar for his work on ‘Good Will Hunting’ and did a fine effort writing and directing the very good ‘Gone Baby Gone’. Once again all film fans will be reminded of his genius after viewing ‘The Town’… if this film doesn’t take away a swag of Oscars then there is something seriously wrong with the people who vote.

Based on chuck Hogan’s novel ‘Prince Of Thieves’ ‘The Town’ is set in Charlestown, Boston… the American capital of bank robbers. Doug MacRay (Affleck) is one such robber – as the leader of one of the most successful crews the town has ever seen MacRay has a 100% success rates as he follows in his father’s footsteps and conducting robberies cleverly planned by The Florist (Pete Postlethwaite). But after one robbery MacRay finds himself attracted to the Bank Branch’s Manager, Claire (Rebecca Hall). When a romance begins MacRay sees a way of Charleston but finds it hard to break free from the clasps of his right-hand man – the very violent – James Coughlan (Jeremy Renner) and his ex-girlfriend, Krista Coughlin (Blake Lively).

As far as writing and directing goes Affleck gets everything perfect. There are no one-dimensional or clichéd characters in sight, and this is one thriller that certainly doesn’t dip into B-Grade territory. It is obvious however that Affleck learnt a hell of a lot working on ‘The Departed’ as ‘The Town’ certainly follows in its footsteps… and that certainly isn’t a bad thing. So good is Affleck’s characterisation that you find yourself ‘barracking’ for MacRay despite the fact he is a notorious criminal. Affleck’s other strong point as a writer is some amazing dialogue that is so natural it feels like you are watching a doco. As a director he also shines, managing to bring creative suspense into the film throughout… whether it be a high speed Police chase or a Café-table conversation that could lead to MacRay’s identity being made known to Claire. The fact Affleck can pull of these things proves that he is no mug when it comes to filmmaking, and I must admit after seeing ‘The Town’ I am now convinced that Affleck may be in fact one of the best writer/directors of our time.

It would be amiss of me to also not credit some fine acting performances that also make ‘The Town’ so special. Yes Affleck is sensational as MacRay (could he win Best Actor, Best Director and Best Screenplay all for the one film?) but he is also well-supported by the under-rated Jeremy Renner who it seems may finally be being noticed by Hollywood. He follows up his sensational performance in ‘The Hurt Locker’ with an amazing portrayal of a violent, heartless criminal. So good is Renner’s performance in ‘The Town’ that whenever he and Affleck appear on the screen together for a scene you know you are in for something special.

‘The Town’ is certainly one of the best films to surface this year and I have to admit that it has made by list of all time great films. I can’t wait to see it again as it five stars all the way. A sensational film that is not be missed by serious film lovers… ladies and gentlemen stand and applaud your Oscar winner.