Ben Affleck directed and co-wrote “The Town,” based on Chuck Hogan’s novel “Prince of Thieves.” It’s a movie about a world where crime is the family business and leaving is not an option. Doug MacRay, Affleck, stars as the leader of a band of bank robbers in Charleston, Mass. The film opens with the group pulling off a well-orchestrated heist. Except for the hostage. She wasn’t really part of the plan. But she becomes part of the problem.Claire, played by Rebecca Hall (known from The Prestige), is the hostage and bank manager who turns into a love interest. MacRay is looking for a way out of Charleston and a life of crime. He finds it in Claire, and he decides it is time to leave. It doesn’t hurt his decision that the FBI is getting closer to pinning the bank robbery to MacRay and his group.
But watching Charleston in the rearview isn’t easy. MacRay is entangled in dealings with James Coughlin played by Jeremy Renner (“The Hurt Locker” and “28 Weeks Later”). Coughlin won’t let MacRay just walk away from their past history and the future jobs MacRay promised he’d plan.
MacRay’s disillusionment with the society he inherited is an interesting look at crimes and the people who commit them. It’s a way of life for the people of Charleston, and there isn’t an exit strategy or an alternative.
Moments of honesty and introspection are balanced with action and intrigue in this fast-paced drama. Affleck develops his character, MacRay, with sincerity and believability from a thug with a Boston accent so thick at times that subtitles would have been nice to a trapped man trying to right wrongs and leave the past in the past.
Affleck can hold his own as a director and proves it with a story fueled by interesting characters and the lives they lead. “The Town” is definitely worth seeing.