21/09/2010

The Town

The Town begins with a few quotes and stats informing us that Charlestown, Boston is known for breeding the best bank robbers in America. Like a old, tattered baseball mitt, the bank robbing skills are passed from generation to generation. This is a tantalising fact that immediately dragged me in and planted a nugget in my head that we were about to be treated to a heady mix of action, drama and a big slab of family issues.

Alas, it is with great sadness to report that The Town is as straight down the line and sub par as a heist movie can possibly be. It is a well crafted film with great direction from Affleck and perfectly fine acting from all involved but I wanted so much more. Huge chunks of the film could be taken from a million films we've already seen and you can practically see what's happening a mile off. As a result, there was no tension and by the end I couldn't give a shit what happened to the characters. The expletive ridden script is alright but I found it the constant supply of Boston heavy clothes, Irish flags and happy leprechauns stuck on every wall annoying. Yes Ben, it's set in Boston and not New York. We get it. And before you ask, I have been to Boston.

I was desperate to at least get an inkling of why Georgetown is the way it is but no, I suppose bog standard characterisation will have to do. If I sound like I'm being harsh it's because everyone else seems to think this is amazing and I feel it's my duty to lower expectations. I'm happy to know that I'm in the fine company of The Guardian's Xan Brooks and Time Out London's David Jenkins who saw this for what it is; a perfectly entertaining film with a few great set pieces (I loved the car chase on Boston's narrow roads) and strong craftsmanship. Affleck is a good director and will only get better but if you're expecting anything more than a 3 star movie, don't.