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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


    “‘The Town’: Cinema by Affleck, for Affleck”

    The Town: Cinema by Affleck, for Affleck

    Ben Affleck, otherwise known as “”the star of Gigli””, has been flexing his directorial muscles again.

    “”The Town,”” written, directed by and starring Affleck, is a story about the notorious bank-robber-friendly Charlestown neighborhood of Boston, and in some ways is a logical predecessor to his mainstream debut “”Gone Baby Gone.”” Both are adapted from successful crime novels and feature cops and killers stomping around Boston, trading bullets and shaky accents while grappling with unpleasant moral conundrums.

    The conundrum this time: Should Affleck’s character stick to his roots as a criminal bound for self-destruction or let an attractive young hostage coax him into reform and “”put this whole town in my rearview mirror?”” The answer is predictable, but a talented supporting cast and gritty location shooting make for an enjoyable ride nonetheless.

    As with an actual bank robbery, every player has a part in “”The Town.”” Here’s how it breaks down:


    Doug MacRay (Ben Affleck) — The chiseled anti-hero

    A bank robber born unto bank robbers, MacRay is the levelheaded architect of his crew’s lucrative schemes. Sometimes he lets his libido get the better of him. After kidnapping a brunette bank manager from one of his crime scenes, the line that separates her from hostage and girlfriend start to blur. MacRay may have handcuffed, abducted and irrevocably traumatized his lover, but at least he buys her jewelry and beats up hoodlums who look at her funny. That’s a step above Chris Brown, anyway.


    FBI Agent Adam Frawley (Jon Hamm) — The mostly ineffectual hunter

    A cop on a romantic quest to end the epidemic of robberies and police killings by Charlestown gangs, Frawley is the Inspector Javert to MacRay’s Jean Valjean, minus the French charm. Indeed, after his stint on “”30 Rock”” as the dimwitted, pirate-hook-adorned Dr. Drew Baird, it’s hard to see Hamm as a hard-line cop with his shit together. Despite that, he has some great monologues about money and his flirtations with MacRay’s coked-out ex (Blake Lively) are among the best scenes in the movie.


    Claire Keesey (Rebecca Hall) — The reason to go clean

    Claire is MacRay’s hostage-turned-booty-call, but she doesn’t know that. To her, MacRay is just a nice dude she met at the laundromat, not the creep dressed as Rob Zombie who shoved an assault rifle in her face the week before. She has no discernable backstory or personal life outside her apartment, but damn is she cute. She is the catalyst for MacRay’s decision to leave crime behind and the source of all the film’s considerable irony.


    James Coughlin (Jeremy Renner) — The reason to stay dirty

    Bros before hoes, right? James is MacRay’s oldest friend, raised up from the mean streets of C-town and always down for a good head smashing or armored car heist. James represents criminal mania and is responsible for telling MacRay that his girlfriend is going to get them all killed every five minutes or so. Coming out of the “”Hurt Locker,”” Renner’s explosive personality is in top form to steal every scene he’s in.  

    See “”The Town””: If you want to see Ben Affleck glorify Ben Affleck; if you liked “”Gone Baby Gone”” or “”The Departed””; if you’re dating your own hostage and don’t know how to tell her.

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