The Town is the new movie “from the acclaimed writer-director of Gone Baby Gone“. This is Hollywood Trailer Code for “Ben Affleck”. Who I am okay with, actually, because he’s in a lot of movies with homoerotic undertones. Or even overtones.
This trailer also included Jeremy Renner (being crazy AS ALWAYS) and Jon Hamm (who is pretty) and Rebecca Hall (who is also pretty) and Chris Cooper (who is brilliant and looks completely different in every single movie) and Pete Postlethwaite (whose character is named “Fergie”, a nickname not just any guy could rock).
And it turned out I could see it for free. Really, a lot of the time that’s all I need.
If you’ve only seen the poster, you are probably confused. The poster makes it look like it is a movie about mummified nuns robbing banks. This is not true. It is about guys who were taught *about* mummies *by* nuns and then grew up to rob banks, seeing as how that’s the family business. And I am really not sure why they bother with the costumes as the whole damn city knows who is doing the robbing. The city *and* the FBI, which is represented by Jon Hamm being smarmy & Titus Welliver (Silas on Deadwood) being annoyed that those darn thieves from Charlestown have pulled it off again.
I mentioned recently that many movies are twenty minutes too long. This is certainly true of The Town, which felt about three hours long but allegedly is only 124 minutes. It seems a lot of movies end. and end. and then end yet another time. In this case it is a bit tricky, because the extra twenty minutes are at the beginning of the film. So, keeping in mind trailers, come about a half hour late. Bonus: you will not have to see Victor Garber get his face smashed in*.
A downside to doing this is that you’ll be afraid you missed some backstory that explains Rebecca Hall’s character, bank manager Claire Keesey. Except, there isn’t one. I looked up the book the film’s adapted from — Prince of Thieves — on Amazon, and reviews say that a) the book is overlong and b) Claire is rarely present in it and it’s unclear what Doug sees in her in the first place.
So, basically, the flaws with the film are the same as the flaws with the novel. But here’s the thing. It’s hard to tell from this, but I did enjoy it for what it was. I wish it had managed to decide if it wanted to be a thriller or a character piece, but it’s more than competently shot and acted, and the final heist & fall-out is quite well-done. I wish it had been shorter, and that Rebecca Hall had been given something to do other than be a victim. But it is what it is, and it does it well enough.
* This is not really a spoiler. Basically, you see him long enough to be excited that it’s Victor Garber, and then James bashes him in the head. As if you didn’t know that James was crazy anyway, seeing as he is played by Jeremy Renner, who someday will do a romcom and I will not recognize him.