September 22, 2020 Breaking News, Latest News, and Videos

Boston Bad Boys Tear Up “The Town”: At The Movies

Banks get robbed and armored trucks get knocked over to gripping effect in “The Town,” but the best thing about the film is actor/director Ben Affleck’s expertise on all things Boston, its accents, its knuckle-headed buddy boys, its narrow North End alleys, and its landmarks that make for great sweeping, birds-eye view establishing shots.

Based on the novel “Prince of Thieves,” by Chuck Hogan, the crime-ridden caper takes place in Charlestown, a neighborhood of Boston that has produced more bank and armored car robbers than anywhere in the United States. Doug MacRay (Affleck) is one such crook, a former hockey star who blew his chance to break away from the criminal lifestyle passed down to him by his father (Chris Cooper). Instead of playing for the pros, Doug becomes a pro at armed robbery, leading a gang of four thuggish, money grabbers all over the city on multiple heists. Though Doug is smart, talented, sober, and searching, he’s having trouble busting loose from his lowlife partners in crime. The strongest tie he has in the group is with Jem (Jeremy Renner), a borderline psychotic and lifelong friend of our anti-hero. Jem has done more than a few favors for Doug over the years and he expects blind loyalty in return. But Doug begins to doubt his future in crime when he meets Claire (Rebecca Hall), a bank manager the boys briefly kidnap during a hold-up. When Jem wants to check up on Claire after the fact, Doug decides to take on the job himself. But love gets in the way and Doug can’t seem to get it straight that Claire is a threat to his survival, not wife material.

The emotional dilemmas here feel a little thin, and watching Doug wrestle with his choices isn’t exactly compelling. Should he stay loyal to the friends who’ve sacrificed their lives for him, or should he abandon them for a happy romance? It’s a little hard to care and even harder to believe this career criminal would let love-sickness distract him so fully. That said, the acting is so good here, plot plays second fiddle to rich character exploration. Renner and Cooper are the clear standouts, both playing men determined to stay on crooked paths despite growing evidence that their commitment to crime will be their demise. Jon Hamm brings convincing doses of good-guy determination to the scene as the FBI agent who relentlessly pursues MacRay and company.

Affleck sits confidently in the director’s chair on this one, as he did in his other Boston-based directorial feat, “Gone, Baby, Gone.” Creating shoot-outs that look like savage ballets and driving his cast toward exceedingly rich performances, the “Good Will Hunting” collaborator shows us, once again, how much he loves to spin tales about “r” dropping, marginalized deadbeats from his home town.

Related Posts

Review: “Away”

September 21, 2020

September 21, 2020

“Away”Rated TV-14Season 1 – 10 One-Hour EpisodesReleased September 4th on Netflix In 2014 Esquire Magazine published a thorough article by...

Beloved Santa Monica Artist Passes Away at 99

August 31, 2020

August 31, 2020

Venezuelan born artist surrealist artist Luchita Hurtado passes away  By Toi Creel For some in Santa Monica, the name Luchita...

Brock on Your Block: Saturday Morning Neighborhood Jazz

August 24, 2020

August 24, 2020

In the latest Brock on Your Block, Phil discovers an impromptu Jazz Concert by the neighbors – a great way...

Film/TV Review: Upload

May 28, 2020

May 28, 2020

FILM/TV REVIEWUPLOADRated TV-MA30-Minute EpisodesSeason 1,10 Episodes Released on Amazon Prime May 1st Upload has the guise of a cute rom-com....

Edify TV: Santa Monica Place Food Court Vacancies

March 10, 2020

March 10, 2020

Another restaurant has closed in the Santa Monica Place food court, adding to the number of vendor vacancies. Learn more...

Fried Chicken and Doughnut Joint Closes Santa Monica Location

March 4, 2020

March 4, 2020

All Southern California Astro Doughnuts & Fried Chicken shut down By Toi Creel After an almost three-year-long stint, Astro Doughnuts...

Edify TV: Free and Affordable Meals for SMC Students

March 3, 2020

March 3, 2020

Santa Monica College has opened its first Everytable SmartFridge. Learn more about this program to make healthy meals affordable for under $5 (and...

Lazy Daisy Cafe to Reopen Doors With New Menu, Ownership

February 27, 2020

February 27, 2020

Feb. 28 soft opening By Toi Creel A popular Santa Monica eatery-once planned to be closed for good – is...

Cinema at the Edge Film Festival Returns

February 19, 2020

February 19, 2020

February 21st to 23rd – Edgemar Center for the Arts By Staff Writer Housed at the Edgemar Center for the...

My Own Academy Awards

February 7, 2020

February 7, 2020

On May 16, 1929, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, an organization founded by Louis B. Mayer to...

Brock on Your Block: The Maiden Factor

February 3, 2020

February 3, 2020

Phil Brock meets Tracy Edwards, MBE, skipper of Maiden, who led the first all-female crew to complete the Whitbread Round...

Santa Monica High School Graduate Becomes NASA Astronaut

January 14, 2020

January 14, 2020

Dr. Jonny Kim becomes first Korean American astronaut By Sam Catanzaro A graduate of Santa Monica High School (SAMOHI) has...