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Category:    Home > Reviews > Action > Heist > Thriller > The Town (2010/Warner Blu-ray)

The Town (2010/Warner Blu-ray)


Picture: B     Sound: B+     Extras: B     Film: B-



Ben Affleck has had many ups and downs in his film career, but overall I would consider The Town an up.  It is by no means an Oscar winner, but it doesn’t deserve any Razzies either.  The Town is an adaptation of pulp writer Chuck Hogan’s novel Prince of Thieves and where as extremely interesting and entertaining, I did not find it to be as amazing as others had suggested.  My curiosity in The Town peaked as reviews (while in theaters) seemed to be overwhelmingly favorable, with even some award suggestions being thrown around.  In the end, however, I found The Town to be a great popcorn movie and little else.


The Town focuses on Charlestown, a suburb of Boston, MA that has had more bank robberies per square mile than anywhere else in the USA.  Supposedly the ‘art’ of bank robbing has been passed down from generation to generation, like that of glass blowing or pottery in Europe.  Ben Affleck and Jeremy Renner (of Hurt Locker fame) are a part of a team of bank robbers, who look to score big.  As the film kicks off we are treated to just what kind of chaos and heist the boys are capable of; which in turn sets the stage for the rest of the film.  Ben Affleck is suddenly finds himself falling for one of the robbery hostages (Rebecca Hall) and Jeremy Renner becomes more and more out of control as he is obsessed with the thieving lifestyle; having already gone away once for his crimes.  John Hamm (who is excellent as always) enters the scene as an FBI agent looking to put a stop to the careless and violent actions happening in Charlestown.  John Hamm’s character is smooth, but as he kicks down doors, smashes faces, and gets names we quickly see he is not all talk.  The FBI is hot on the trail of Ben Affleck’s gang and is just waiting for them to slip up.


The film is fun and has a certain charm about it; in a harsh, workman type way.  This is Affleck’s second time directing and he doesn’t do bad; outside of the fact he is trying to make The Departed and falls all too short.  The film runs long, but never feels like it; though at times it does feel choppy.  The acting is generally good, though Hamm and Hall are the two stand out performances, along with Blake Lively (Gossip Girl) who is not only beautiful, but also has a very promising future.  The Town is a popcorn film that most will find enjoyable, though I don’t think it will be an Oscar contender.  Pete Postlewaite (Scott’s The Duelists, In The Name Of The Father) also shows up in what has sadly turned out to be one of his last roles, but he may not be in the film enough for an Oscar nomination.


The Blu-ray of The Town is adequate at best.  The picture is presented in a 2.40 X 1, 1080p MPEG-4 AVC Encoded digital High Definition transfer that does little to wow the audience as the two versions of the film available on this SINGLE disc set end up with some issues.  The film has an intentional grittiness and blue tint that Affleck achieved through using altered film stock; we could argue whether this was a good or bad choice, but in the end I found no problem with it.  The film for the most part is sharp and (outside of the blue tint) has solid colors and blacks.  The darker sequences are somewhat blurry and there is a certain degree of crushing here and there (most definitely from squeezing 2 films on 1 disc), but in the end the film demonstrates good textures.  The sound is more impressive than the picture in its DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 Surround track that flat out BOOMS!  The action surrounds the viewer and the dialogue is crisp and clean.  There are compression issues here and there, but not enough to worry about.


The extras include a Commentary Track with Ben Affleck, as well as a featurette entitled Ben’s Boston.  The commentary is great and you can certainly sense that Affleck had a lot of time, energy and emotion invested in this film; carefully going over every detail, down to the studio logos and opening credits.  He talks throughout and definitely gives the viewer information you could get no where else, on top of be interesting and helping us to appreciate the film more.  His commentary actually made me like the film more than I had originally as I began to understand what he wanted; something more directors should do.  The featurette is nice, but not as good as the commentary.



-   Michael P. Dougherty II


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