According to the prologue, there are over 300 bank robberies in Boston every year. And a one-square-mile neighborhood, called Charlestown, has produced more bank and armored car robbers than anywhere in the United States.
Actor/director Ben Affleck plays a Doug MacRay, a savvy Charlestown crook who realizes he’s carrying the burden of a criminal heritage from his incarcerated father (Chris Cooper). As the story begins, Doug and his masked gang brazenly rob the Cambridge Merchant Bank, taking the bank manager, Claire Keesey (Rebecca Hall of “Vicky Cristina Barcelona”), hostage. Although they quickly release her, she’s traumatized, and when they realizes she lives nearby, they’re terrified that she somehow can identify them.
Rather than eluding her, Doug secretly befriends unsuspecting Claire and a romance develops. She’s an upscale, professional woman whom local Townies torment, calling her a ‘Toonie.’ Meanwhile, unbeknownst to Doug, Claire has agreed to work with determined FBI Special Agent Frawley (Jon Hamm of TV’s “Mad Men”), whose task force is closing in on Doug’s hot-tempered buddy Gem (Jeremy Renner of “The Hurt Locker”), his drugged-up sister Krista (Blake Lively of TV’s “Gossip Girl”) and Fergie
Colm (Pete Postlethwaite), whose neighborhood florist shop serves as a front for the local Irish gang’s various nefarious activities.
No one knows Boston better than Cambridge native Ben Affleck, so a palpable, street-smart authenticity permeates this multi-heist thriller adapted by Affeck, Peter Craig and Aaron Stockard from “Prince of Thieves” by Chuck Hogan, who deduced that, since Charlestown area was once the site of a maximum security prison, the area became a self-perpetuating criminal enclave. And the filming was almost entirely in and around Boston, including Fenway Park, home of Affleck’s beloved Red Sox. After garnering critical acclaim for his directing debut with “Gone Baby Gone,” Affleck once again elicits convincing performances from his entire ensemble, particularly British actress Rebecca Hall who bears a remarkable resemblance to Jennifer Garner, Affleck’s real-life wife.
On the Granger Movie Gauge of 1 to 10, “The Town” is a solid, suspense-filled 7. There’s lots of robbin’ in that ‘hood.