The Town is a heist movie, sort of, written and directed by Ben Affleck. Four life-long friends have always been in trouble and always been on the wrong side of the tracks. They’ve also always been each other’s point of security and stability. To say these four guys are thick as blood is an understatement. Jem and Doug (played respectively by Jeremy Renner and Ben Affleck) have the closest relationship of them all, Jem having recently finished doing time for Doug.
The four, now grown up, rob banks together and man are they good. Things get hairy during their most recent heist, however, and they end up taking a teller hostage. This is the straw breaking the camels back for Doug, who actually looks the teller up after the fact and begins a relationship with her. Suddenly Doug has three people breathing down his neck: FBI agent Frawley, who is getting far too close to catching him, Doug’s boss Fergie (played to perfection by the late Pete Postlethwaite), who doesn’t take to kindly to rumors of Doug wanting to leave and Jem, who seems he’d rather see Doug dead than to see him leave him just after Jem did a stint for Doug.
Like in any good heist movie, Doug agrees to do one more score and, of course, the score goes badly and he must pay the consequences.
While the movie is pretty predictable and seems way way to reminiscent of Heat, I still enjoyed it. The performances were good, yes even Affleck’s, and it was shot in a way that easily kept you interested. The best thing is the writing, which was very particular. It was written by Ben Affleck and Aaron Stockard, who wrote the fantastic Gone Baby Gone as well. Peter Craig also penned the screenplay with Affleck and Stockard, who is known more for his darkly comedic novels about dysfunctional families, which added a good sense of family interaction among the four friends and a good deal of natural comedy to the conversations. The movie itself is based off the very good Prince of Thieves and a good foundation is always helpful for a good screenplay.
So, in the end, it’s nothing new, but it’s done very well and if you like this kind of movie you’ll love it.