The Town Ben Affleck

The Town Ben Affleck
By now, we all know that Ben Affleck is from Boston. His directorial debut, Gone, Baby, Gone, is set there and he has now returned home for second feature The Town. The titular town in question is Charlestown, a part of Boston that has experienced more bank robberies than any other in the world. I would think twice about opening a bank there with statistics like that, but people need money and other people need to steal it. In The Town, Affleck gives us a delicate, albeit straightforward, balance between these folks.

There's nothing particularly new and exciting about the premise: a group of four "townies," including Affleck, and new "it" boy Jeremy Renner, hold up a bank and take the manager (Rebecca Hall) hostage. Affleck stalks her a little afterward to make sure she doesn't know anything the FBI can use, but then something unexpected happens; he falls for her. It isn't unexpected for the audience, but rather for him. All he's known his whole life is crime - even his father (Chris Cooper) is doing time, and proud of it. What he didn't expect was that he might want something else from life, something more stable and meaningful.

Affleck is quickly becoming more relevant as a director than actor, but it's his lead performance in The Town that anchors the film. The supporting cast, including Jon Hamm, without a cigarette hanging out of his mouth at all times, is stellar, but Affleck is the big winner. He may not have found a way to inspire insight from his work as a filmmaker just yet, but he knows how to control the story, command the audience's attention and, most importantly, keep us entertained.

My money says he's going to continue to grow on this path. I just won't be putting said cash in any townie bank. (Warner)