"The Town", directed and co-written by Ben Affleck, is a film based on the novel "Prince of Thieves." Starring Affleck, Jeremey Renner ("The Hurt Locker"), Slaine ("Gone Baby Gone") and Owen Burke as a group of bank robbers, "The Town" takes place in and around Boston, and follows the complications that arise when Affleck's character, Doug MacRay, falls for one of his hostages, Claire (Rebecca Hall).
Deciding he wants to follow a different path than his life-imprisoned father, MacRay tries to leave his gang of thieves, only to be coerced into one last job, lest his girlfriend/former hostage be harmed. The last job, however, is no standard bank job. The foursome must steal the cash load from Fenway Park after a blockbuster night. What ensues is an all out gun fight between four smart crooks, the entire Boston Police Department and a slew of FBI agents.
Affleck gives his best performance since "Good Will Hunting" as the head of the group, hardened from a troubled childhood, an imprisoned father and a life of crime. Playing the triple crown in film-making (writing, directing, acting), Affleck gives an emotional performance that invokes Stockholm Syndrome in the audience. You want him to win. He's one of the biggest thieves in Boston, but still comes across as intelligent, caring and empathetic.
Renner is the other stand-out in this film. He nails the "tough guy from the wrong side of the tracks" and evokes fear from the audience. He is the worst kind of criminal - one who has nothing to lose. He's the renegade in the group - the one who will put others in danger and take everything one step too far solely for his own pleasure.
Chris Cooper, a well-regarded actor, has a small role in the film which doesn't offer him the opportunity to truly showcase his talent.
Blake Lively, on the other hand, is a great surprise as Krista. Known best for her "Gossip Girl" role, Lively does a 180 as MacRay's sex-driven, drug addicted former girlfriend who flips on him as a plea with the FBI to keep her daughter from the state.
From the moment the movie opens, it's near non-stop adrenaline, whether it be a seat-grabbing car chase or a close call with Claire discovering MacRay's true identity. The movie's pace is strong and leaves the audience wanting more. Hopefully we won't have to go through any more "Giglis" to get it.