Despite appearing in a collection of incredible stinkers, with Daredevil, Gigli, The Sum of all Fears and Surviving Christmas heading the list, it should be remembered that Ben Affleck was one half of the writing team behind the excellent Good Will Hunting screenplay, and turned in a great performance too.
He was given the opportunity to direct, as well as write and star in, an adaptation of Prince of Thieves by Chuck Hogan (a story that has very little to do with Robin Hood), which was retitled as The Town and provided a showcase of Affleck’s raw movie-making talent.
The Town begins by highlighting the severity of bank robberies in the area of Charlestown, located in Boston. This is followed by a heist on a local bank, orchestrated by Affleck’s career criminal Doug MacRay, along with his lifelong friends Jem Coughlin, Gloansy Magloan, and Dez Elden.
The masked thieves encounter a minor hitch, which results in the kidnapping of bank manager Claire Kessey, who gets blindfolded and dropped off at a nearby beach. After the robbery, MacRay decides to follow Kessey, which leads to a relationship between the two, whilst she is blissfully unaware of his involvement in the robbery and her kidnapping.
Whilst MacRay tries to hide his guilt, and keep his friends from knowing his actions, FBI Special Agent Adam Frawley is behind a concentrated effort to get MacRay and his crew behind bars.
For a heist movie, there is very little in terms of bank theft, but this is a conscious decision by Affleck, and allows time for the impressive characterisation and performances to develop fully. This film really is a clever mixture of action and drama, with startling efforts from all the leads.