Affleck scores with second directing effort

The Town Warner Bros. Rating: 14A 124 minutes

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The Town is Ben Affleck’s second film as director after Gone Baby Gone in 2007. He’s a director to be watched as this film confirms he knows his way around a set. It’s not as good as Heat or The Departed, but it’s a well-made, solid thriller.

Affleck, who also co-wrote the script, plays a second generation Boston bank robber, the brains in a gang of four, which also includes his murderous best friend, played by Jeremy Renner (The Hurt Locker).

The film opens with an efficient, dramatic bank robbery in which bank manager Rebecca Hall is taken hostage and released unharmed. But Renner is worried she could somehow identify them and wants her silenced. Affleck stalks her, meets her in a laundromat and, somewhat unbelievably, starts a relationship.

Jon Hamm (Mad Men) plays the dedicated FBI agent tracking them down.

The final shootout is not completely believable and some of the dramatic scenes between the robberies and a very well done mid-film chase drag a bit. But this film features strong characters (Affleck and Renner are especially good), and gripping action. Unfortunately there’s not a lot of chemistry between Affleck and Hall.

The Town refers to the Charlestown neighbourhood of Boston, apparently the bank robbery capital of the world. Affleck grew up in Boston and obviously adores it and knows it well, but perhaps has one or two too many long lingering shots of the city and Bunker Hill.

Rating: four deer of five

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Alf Cryderman is a Red Deer freelance writer and old movie buff.

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