October 25, 2010

Movie Review: The Town

I'm not sure I'll ever be able to watch a Boston-set movie without spending the majority of my time squinting at background street signs and building facades, trying to determine where any particular scene was filmed. Featuring one of my favorite North End restaurants AND Fenway's Boston Beer Works, 'The Town' didn't disappoint.

This trailer is actually really annoying, because it features a ton of dialogue that doesn't happen in the movie. But you'll get the point.

It didn't disappoint as an actual movie either: Ben Affleck the actor is in his element - all grizzle and simmering anger (and track jackets), while Ben Affleck the director tells a focused and well-paced story (He shoots landscapes and light particularly well). I was able to forget Serena Van der Woodsen quickly, in exchange for Blake Lively's trashy drugged out single mom; forgetting Don Draper was harder, but Jon Hamm was also working with a lower-key character. Jeremy Renner and Rebecca Hall, as the best friend and love interest of Ben Affleck's main character, were solid, if ultimately forgettable (Renner - or the script - could have done more with his character and the I-went-to-jail-for-you anger and rash, revenge-on-the-world decision making).

There was a continuity error that's still bugging me (The final heist is said to revolve around a four-game Red Sox/Yankees series, but a bar TV shows a Red Sox/Blue Jays game instead), and an annoyingly cheesy throwaway scene, in which Jon Hamm demands a warrant, that's only left in for plot necessity. And I wonder if there was some lost-in-the-editing process plot point to Victor Garber, or if his inclusion in that opening scene was just a shout-out to Jennifer Garner and 'Alias.'

I can't put my finger on where the movie dragged (certainly not in the prison scene, where Ben Affleck visits his dad, played by Chris Cooper, who packs a 5-minute role full of weight and punch), but the movie felt long. That also might have been my 10-hour car ride from the day before talking.

7.5 Twix bars!


Beth said...

I hear ya re: squinting to read street signs, etc! It certainly depicted (picture wise) Boston as the beautiful city it was. We enjoyed this movie - it wasn't Departed good - but it was solidly good. It was one of the first films in awhile where Ben Affleck (the actor) didn't irk me - loved that!