The Town (Extended Cut) (Blu-ray)

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Rating: R

Starring:
Ben Affleck as Doug MacRay
Rebecca Hall as Claire Keesey
Jon Hamm as FBI S.A. Adam Frawley
Jeremy Renner as James Coughlin
Blake Lively as Krista Coughlin
Slaine as Albert ‘Gloansy’ Magloan
Owen Burke as Desmond Elden
Titus Welliver as Dino Ciampa
Pete Postlethwaite as Fergus ‘Fergie’ Colm
Chris Cooper as Stephen MacRay
Dennis McLaughlin as Rusty
Corena Chase as Agent Quinlan
Brian Scannell as Henry

Directed by Ben Affleck

Special Features:
Ben’s Boston: Actor/Director/Writer Ben Affleck takes you through the moviemaking process in his hometown. Segments include: The Cathedral of Bostons Nuns With Guns: Filming In the North End, Pulling Off The Perfect Heist, The Town

Other Info:
Widescreen (2.40:1)
DTS-HD MA 5.1Sound
Spanish and French Languages
Spanish and French Subtitles
Running Time: 125 Minutes

The Details:
The following is the official description of the film:

“As he plans a job that could result in his gang’s biggest score ever, a longtime thief plans a way out of the life and the town while dodging the FBI agent looking to bring him and his bank-robbing crew down. In addition to heading an electrifying cast, Ben Affleck also directed and co-wrote this suspenseful, critically acclaimed crime thriller that unfolds – and often – explodes across gritty Boston locations. Rebecca Hall, Jon Hamm, Jeremy Renner, Black Lively, Titus Welliver, Pete Postlethwaite and Chris Cooper also star.”

“The Town” is rated R or strong violence, pervasive language, sexuality, nudity and drug use.

Mini-Review:
“The Town” is one of those movies that is completely spoiled by its trailer. In it we see a spectacular bank robbery, the realization that a hostage has the potential to identify the robbers, Ben Affleck stalking and eventually falling in love with the hostage, then the inevitable consequences of trying to ‘get out’ of the business for her sake. Once you’ve seen the trailer, the movie has little else to offer. All that remains is to see how the actors perform their characters and what the ultimate resolution will be. Fortunately, both of those are enough to make “The Town” still worth checking out.

This is the second time Ben Affleck has directed a feature film and he does a fine job. It’s a solid script, he has a first rate supporting cast, and the cinematography is fantastic. Between this and “Gone Baby Gone,” he’s a really promising director. He did have some significant challenges with “The Town” in my mind. The first is that none of his leading characters are particularly likable. They’re thugs, thieves, and in some cases murderers. Nothing really justifies their actions. Yes, you can say they’re simply a product of their environment, but that doesn’t excuse what they do. Because of this, Affleck really needed to make Doug MacRay sympathetic to the audience and I never really felt that he did that. MacRay never really atoned for his sins, so to speak. The other challenge is minor, but was still noticeable to me. It was all the fake Boston accents that the supporting cast had. Affleck can be excused because he’s from Boston, but it’s really hard to listen to everyone else speak with those accents when we’re so familiar with their speech without it. It’s a tad distracting.

Accents aside, the supporting cast did an excellent job. Jeremy Renner was memorable as James Coughlin. When you hear the saying “bad friends corrupt good character,” James is the ‘bad friend’ it was referring to. He’s out of control and escalates every crisis he’s involved in. Renner will be playing Hawkeye in the new “Avengers” movie and I can see he’s an excellent choice for the role. Between this and “The Hurt Locker,” he’s starting to be known for playing these type of rogue characters. Rebecca Hall is also good as Claire Keesey, the woman still dealing with post-traumatic stress from being taken hostage. It’s kind of nice to see the victim’s point of view portrayed in this film. Doug and James seem to think bank robbery is a victimless crime, but Claire is proof that’s not the case. While pulling double duty as director and as Doug MacRay, Ben Affleck does a pretty good job. I’m impressed he was able to take on so many duties simultaneously and still deliver a strong performance.

If you like bank robbery movies or crime dramas, I think “The Town” is a film you’ll want to check out. I also think Boston locals will have a particular interest in how their town is portrayed. I do think you’ll enjoy it more if you haven’t seen the trailer because it will have more surprises to offer you.

On first glance it appears that the Blu-ray bonus features are modest, but when you delve into them they pretty much cover every aspect of the making of the film that you’d care about. The featurettes are packaged under “Ben’s Boston,” but you can watch them individually. They discuss the real bank robberies that happen in Boston, challenges of shooting in certain parts of the city, and more. They talk about the research done with the FBI about the bank robberies, the use of real locals in supporting roles, and other goodies. All of the cast and crew are interviewed at one point or another. The Blu-ray also has a commentary by Affleck and an extended version of the film.

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