Monday, September 20, 2010


Review: The Town
5 stars (out of 5)
By R. Kurt Osenlund

Watching “The Town,” it's practically impossible to process that it was made by Ben Affleck. It's not that Affleck's movie-star slump was ever bad enough to obliterate the possibility of seeing him as an artist, or that the other film he directed, “Gone Baby Gone,” wasn't a solid (if disjointed and overpraised) debut feature; it's that nothing this man has ever created has suggested he had the capacity to create something like this – the best heist-heavy urban crime saga since “The Dark Knight” and one of the best movies of the year.

Co-written by Affleck (with Peter Craig and Aaron Stockard) and starring him as well, “The Town,” based on the novel “Prince of Thieves” by Chuck Hogan, could have very well wound up a desperate, self-important vanity project. But it never feels like that, even with Affleck's main character, Doug MacRay, getting all the ponderous monologues, lingering close-ups and criminal-with-a-conscience glory. Most startling is how this Hollywood picture is so minimally compromised, and how, from the dynamic character interactions to the arresting street shoot-outs, it bears the inner-city grit and richness of a fierce filmmaker who's been at it for years. You will think: Michael Mann. Martin Scorsese.


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