The Town ~ (USA, 2010) ~ In Theaters

Ben Affleck’s new townie flick is – surprisingly – pretty damn good. I wasn’t expecting a lot. But The Town, a Boston-based bank heist flick is suspenseful, well-acted, and directed. My one minor quibble would be the relationship between Affleck’s character (Doug McCray) and an assistant bank manager (Claire Kessey) played by Rebecca hall. It stretches the boundaries of credibility just a tiny bit. But if you can suspend your skepticism here, and it’s necessary to do so, since the relationship is an integral part of the plot, then you’re good to go, and in for a treat. Course, you need to also be a fan of the heist-caper genre of the dramatic variety – no laughs here.

The plotting is taut, the action fast and furious. And the acting is superior. Affleck is good in his dual responsibilities (acting and directing). Jon Hamm plays FBI Special Agent Adam Frawley, with his no-nonsense style familiar from Mad Men. Jeremy Renner (as James Coughlin), is as good as he was in The Hurt Locker, and maybe even better in this. He’s married to the code. The two principal women are excellent as well. Blake Lively (as Renner’s sister and the mother of Affleck’s child) has the smaller role, but she makes a lot out of it in her few scenes. Rebecca Hall shows a range of emotions to good effect.

Even the minor characters are very good. I’d have to say: excellent casting. Pete Postlethwaite, as ‘Fergie’ Colm, the Charlestown mob boss and flower shop owner, is menacing just knifing the thorns off of rose stems.

This was in Toronto a few days after the world premiere at the Venice Film Festival and opened in the US last weekend. It’s a good one, so either get out to see it, or put it in you Netflix queue immediately.

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