Town, The

MPAA Rating: R

Entertainment: +2

Content: -4

Ben Affleck, Rebecca Hall, Jon Hamm, Jeremy Renner, Blake Lively, Titus Welliver, Pete Postlethwaite, Chris Cooper. Crime/drama. Written by Peter Craig and Ben Affleck & Aaron Stockard. Directed by Ben Affleck.

FILM SYNOPSIS: There are over 300 bank robberies in Boston every year. And most of the professionals live in a one-square-mile neighborhood called Charlestown. One of them is Doug MacRay, but he is not cut from the same cloth as his fellow thieves. Unlike them, Doug had a chance at success, a chance to escape following in his fatherís criminal footsteps. Instead, he became the leader of a crew of ruthless bank robbers, who pride themselves on taking what they want and getting out clean. The only family Doug has are his partners in crime, especially Jem, who, despite his dangerous, hair-trigger temper, is the closest thing Doug ever had to a brother. However, everything changed on the gangís last job when Jem briefly took a hostage: bank manager Claire Keesey. When they discover Claire lives in Charlestown, Jem gets nervous and wants to check out what she might have seen. Knowing what Jem is capable of, Doug takes charge. He seeks out Claire, who has no idea that their encounter is not by chance or that this charming stranger is one of the men who terrorized her only days before. As his relationship with Claire deepens into a passionate romance, Doug wants out of this life and the town. But with the Feds closing in and Jem questioning his loyalty, Doug realizes that getting out will not be easy and, worse, may put Claire in the line of fire. Any choices he once had have boiled down to one: betray his friends or lose the woman he loves. The Town is a dramatic thriller about robbers and cops, friendship and betrayal, love and hope, and escaping a past that has no future. Ė That synopsis is from the studioís press notes.

PREVIEW REVIEW: Doug (Ben Afflect) and Jem (Jeremy Renner) reminded me of Ray Liotta and Joe Pesci in Goodfellas, with Jem, like Pesciís character unable to complete a simple declarative sentence without the use of the f-bomb. Not that heís the only one who uses the f-word in this film. With the inclusion of over 160 f-words used in the story, I had to come to the conclusion that everyone in New York State speaks with such volatility.

Well acted, intensely filmed, it should do well opening weekend. Sadly, itís a film that gets you rooting for the lead, who shoots to kill cops and innocent standbys. And whatís this, does one criminal get to steal money, shoot cops and get away with it?

I suppose some bank robbers do get away, but whatís this determination upon Hollywoodís part to make them out to be Robin Hoods, giving a portion of their loot to charitable organizations. Perhaps Iím showing my prejudice, lumping all you thieves altogether. Correct me please. If youíve robbed a bank within the past ten years, let me know Ė did you give any of it to Jerryís kids?

Itís a harsh film to watch, where everyone looks out after themselves, where no one, including the FBI agent assigned to the case, shows the slightest moral development.

Certainly, I canít recommend Goodfellas or The Godfather as DVD alternatives due to their harsh content, but they are examples of better written and produced movies about the crime world. White Heat, on the other hand, remains impressive and can be suggested as alternative viewing. The James Cagney hood with a mother obsession is a powerful look at the criminal mentality.

Preview Reviewer: Phil Boatwright
Warner Bros.

The following categories contain objective listings of film content which contribute to the subjective numeric Content ratings posted to the left and on the Home page.

Crude Language: None.

Obscene Language: Everyone in this film swears, causing me to lose count; at least 160 uses of the f-word, over 20 of the s-word and most others well represented as well.

Profanity: four or five profane uses of Godís name and six of Christís.

Violence: A very violent film, with one manís head beaten in by a rifle butt, another shot in the head, many brutal beatings, car chases and crashes; cops shot at, some hit, some killed by the protagonists. Blood: Lots of blood from gun wounds and beatings.

Sex: At least two sexual situations, both fairly graphic in depiction.

Nudity: none

Sexual Dialogue/Gesture: none

Drugs: Drinking and drug use

Other: none

Running Time: 120 minutes
Intended Audience: Adults

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