thu 12/12/2019

DVD: The Town | reviews, news & interviews

DVD: The Town

DVD: The Town

Multi-skilled Ben Affleck's powerful Boston crime thriller

Jeremy Renner as armed robber Jem Coughlin, pursued by FBI Agent Adam Frawley (Jon Hamm)

The Town narrowly missed out on an Oscar nomination for Best Picture, and revisiting it on DVD I reckon it was hard done-by. True, it's possible to pigeonhole it under Heist Thriller, but it's a particularly fine one, and it's much more besides. Displaying multi-hatted expertise as star, director and screenwriter, Ben Affleck (deriving the story from Chuck Hogan's novel Prince of Thieves) has rooted his panicky shoot-outs and scorching car chases in a meticulously realised Boston milieu. Specifically, the story centres on the Charlestown district, notorious for its multi-generational families of armed robbers.

The claustrophobically close bonds between Affleck's Doug MacRay and his ruffianly associates is the core of the film, especially his relationship with Jem (Jeremy Renner, fully earning his Best Supporting Actor nod). Jem did jail time for the crew, he reckons they owe him a shot at a big score, but Doug wants out of Charlestown for good, especially now he's fallen for Claire (Rebecca Hall), the manager of the last bank they raided. Since Doug has had a long involvement with his sister Krista (a blowsily overripe Blake Lively), Jem is feeling righteously betrayed. The Last Big Score duly comes along - the boys set out to raid the Boston Red Sox - but FBI agent Adam Frawley (Jon Hamm, oozing authority) is gaining fast.

Affleck has combined a thunderous action flick, a haunting buddy movie and a touching love story, and you can rarely glimpse the joins. DVD extras comprise The Real People of The Town, where we meet the Charlestonians who worked on the picture, and the short doc Ben Affleck: Director and Actor, in which cast and crew line up to say how fabulous the boss is. Jon Hamm gets the best line, with his dry aside: "There's too much swearing in this film."

Overleaf: watch trailer for The Town

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