Director Affleck makes promising return to film

When it comes to crime in the movies, one would think that it’s all been said and done before. New crime films cannot overshadow the success of classics like “Heat” or “Scarface.”

Rather than try to imitate the greatness of those movies, filmmakers in the crime drama genre have started to show their originality by taking new directions, like in Ben Affleck’s newest movie, “The Town.”

An example of this movie’s originality is found in its execution of bank robberies; it is not every day that you see four men with automatic weapons dressed as nuns robbing a bank.

Following the recent trend of crime dramas set in Boston (“Mystic River,” “The Departed”), “The Town” takes place the neighborhood of Charlestown where drugs, corruption, and crime have become a way of life.

Doug MacCray, played by Ben Affleck, follows this lifestyle; he is the master planner in his crew of bank robbers. Rather than playing the stereotypical role of a young hotshot looking to take what he wants by any means necessary, Affleck portrays a man that has become disillusioned with his life.

When his last heist attracts the attention of FBI Agent Adam Frawley, played by Jon Hamm from “Mad Men,” MacCray must reassess what he wants out of life. He must choose whether to continue his life of crime with his longtime friend Jem, Jeremy Renner (“The Hurt Locker”), or abandon the only life he has ever known.

This proves to be a difficult choice as loyalties to his family and friends are tested, in addition to the fact that the woman he loves was a hostage in one of his recent thefts. While the bank robbery drama takes up a good portion of the movie, a majority of the film’s focus really comes down to a good man in search of something worth living for in a troubling environment.

In the past, many actors have gone on to lead successful careers behind the camera. The most notable modern examples include Ron Howard, Robert Redford, and Clint Eastwood. While he has only directed three movies, it looks as if Ben Affleck could be on his way towards joining their ranks.

If “The Town” is any indication of what audiences can expect from Affleck in the future, then they will not be disappointed. The film has been very successful because in the two weeks it has been in theatres, “The Town” has made an impressive $55 million and even took the first spot on the charts during its opening weekend.

It would be no surprise to see this film up for several awards when Oscar’s time rolls around. If there is one movie worth the price of admission this month, then it is definitely “The Town.”

Christopher Spall can be reached at

Author: Staff Writer

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