Whilst many might not associate Ben Affleck with the direction of outstanding cinematic gems, it is becoming very clear that this (and not acting) is his actual strongsuit in the film industry. His latest attempt, The Town has received a lot award buzz and a finer look at the film reveals why:
Much like Affleck's previous film (which also received high acclaim), 'Gone baby gone', The Town's main sell is its extreme realistic feel and poignant execution. A huge part of this effect is thanks to the clever use of simple dialogue that makes the interactions between characters seem noticably authentic. The action sequences (which has been used in trailers to attract audiences) are interesting and entirely believable, which also adds substantially to the film's sense of powerful realism.
"...Whilst Ben Affleck isn't horrible as the main protagonist, he gets outshined by Jon Hamm, the film's extremely charismatic, funny and intimidating antagonist."
Affleck's clean and uncomplicated style creates the perfect framework for this hard-hitting, but familiar-feeling crime drama. An appropriate ensemble cast that includes excellent performances by Blake Lively (Gossip Girl) and Jeremy Renner (The Hurt Locker, S.W.A.T.) gives the movie an even greater sense of widespread appeal. And whilst Ben Affleck isn't horrible as the main protagonist, he gets outshined by Jon Hamm (The day the earth stood still, Space Cowboys), the film's extremely charismatic, funny and intimidating antagonist.
Don't get me wrong, The Town has a lot going for it, but personally, I feel the hype around the movie has been a bit misplaced. Whilst the film is well shot, has a solid plot and great acting, it doesn't really have a lot of resonance. The main love story feels a bit tired out and doesn't really add anything to the 'good girl falls in love with bad guy' sub-genre. The focus on crime and the effect it has on a person's future is probably more definitive, but also feels like more of a case of 'been there, done that'.
Nevertheless, this movie is an important one for Affleck, as it cements his new reputation as a very capable director – I'm not expecting this one to take many 'Best film' awards home back to Charlestown though...
Highlight: The scene with the nuns, guns and coppers.