@ the Movies/ The Town

Ben Affleck sheds his flop-ridden tinseltown past and shows us what he's learned over the years, in The Town

LET me be the first to admit that it seemed implausible to forgive the guy who starred in Gigli (!), in Jersey Girl (!), in fucking Surviving Christmas (!!)--for crying out loud--but here I am, bowing before the man once co-known as Bennifer.

Ben Affleck, victor of four Razzie Awards, has redeemed his unfortunate and somewhat dizzying Hollywood past (with the exception of Good Will Hunting, Gone Baby Gone and, of course, Dazed & Confused), with what's got to be one of the best films of the year, so far. The Town sheds Affleck's daunting trail of disastrous silver screen faux pas' and proves he's developed into something more than a tabloid junkie or some Matt Damon sidekick. He's all grow'd up!

Not only did Affleck, 38, co-script The Town--based on Chuck Hogan's Prince of Thieves novel--but he also leads the cast of his sophomore directorial effort. He's like a Massachusetts-bred, less-perverted version of Woody Allen, hmmm?!

But enough about Affleck, let's discuss The Town, shall we?

"There are over 300 bank robberies in Boston every year," greets the giant projection screen. "Most of these professionals live in a 1-square-mile neighbourhood called Charlestown." Lies! In fact, there were fewer than two dozen bank heists in the whole of Massachusetts during 2010's first quarter, but this is fiction, no?

Affleck is better-than-okay as Doug MacRay, a career criminal who is set to rob a Charlestown bank with a few of his shady pals, including like-a-brother James "Jem" Coughlin, played by The Hurt Locker's Jeremy Renner. They get what they came for and then some, leaving the bank with other people's cash and a hostage in manager Claire (Rebecca Hall).

Unharmed, physically that is, Claire is freed, but the stigma of her seizure is far from gone. It's a moment of weakness at a local laundromat, where Doug has followed her to in order to keep tabs, in which the unlikely pair kindle a kinship that quickly becomes something more.

None the wiser to Doug's dirty deeds, Claire has become smitten with her former captor, and vice versa, but when the Boston PD fill her in on Doug's crooked past.... Well, you can imagine.

Determined to put this past behind him, Doug vows to leave the business, but his plans are put on hold when the men he works for threaten to take away everything he cares for. Hands tied, Doug forfeits to their demands and agrees to one last mission.

Needless to say, this 'mission' is a game changer, one that guides this diverting tale into its appeasing finale. I won't spoil the ending for you though...go spend the 12 bucks and see for yourself, you cheap bastards!

So, despite its lengthy running time (123 minutes) and some disposable and cliche screen tactics, it looks as though we're ready to forgive and forget, Mr. Affleck. Now, don't fuck this up with another Daredevil movie!

4 outta 5 stars

Below is the official trailer for Ben Affleck's 'The Town.'


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