Thursday, December 23, 2010

The Town DVD

DVD Review by Kam Williams

Headline: Ben Affleck’s Beantown Crime Saga Comes to DVD

Ben Affleck directs and stars in this crime saga as Doug MacRay, a gangster from Charlestown, a tight-knit, blue-collar community connected by bridge to Boston proper. As narrator, he informs us at the outset that his Irish stronghold’s claim to fame is that it has produced more bank robbers, present company included, than any other neighborhood in the world.
In fact, he’s just now about to hatch a heist in nearby Cambridge with the help of his loyal, lifelong friends Jem (Jeremy Renner), Gloansy (Slaine) and Des (Owen Burke). They all don masks before bursting into the bank and forcing the manager Claire Keesey (Rebecca Hall) to open the vault at gunpoint.
However, her momentary hesitation affords one of her colleagues an opportunity to trigger an alarm. Realizing that the cops are en route, the crooks decide to take Claire hostage into the getaway vehicle. Later, to make sure she won’t cooperate with the police, they keep her driver’s license before releasing her on the street.
As it turns out, she’s from Charlestown, so ringleader Doug assumes the job of intimidating the attractive eyewitness. But against his better judgment, when he follows her to a laundromat, he proceeds to ask her for a date instead of threatening to break her kneecaps.
Clueless Claire has no idea that gentlemanly Doug is the dude who had recently abducted her, so she unwittingly allows herself to be swept off her feet and falls passionately in love with the protective hunk. However, this development doesn’t sit well with her sweetheart’s homeys who know that the authorities are probably carefully monitoring her every movement.
Meanwhile, the noose gradually tightens around Doug’s neck due to the omnipresence of a team of nosey FBI agents. To make matters worse, he’s being pressured to mastermind an armored car robbery by a local mob boss (Pete Postlethwaite) to whom he is indebted.
As you might guess, especially if you’ve seen a few of these high body-count sagas set in Boston, such complicated scenarios rarely end on an upbeat note after the gun smoke clears. Still, it’s very entertaining waiting to see who’ll be the last man standing in this gripping, gritty sample of cinema verite.
A riveting, immorality play establishing Ben Affleck as a director to be reckoned with.

Excellent (4 stars)
Rated R for sexuality, drug use, graphic violence and pervasive profanity.
Running time: 125 Minutes
Studio: Warner Home Entertainment

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