The Town (Blu-ray)
In a town that has consistently produced bank robbers over the years, a group of four young men led by Doug MacRay (Ben Affleck) and Jim Coughlin (Jeremy Renner) continue the tradition by staging somewhat elaborate heists that elude local and federal law enforcements. When one of their jobs goes awry and they kidnap a bank manager, Claire Keesey (Rebecca Hall), all their well oiled plans come to a halt as MacRay starts to have feelings for her.
I have to admit that even though I knew THE TOWN was going to be an excellent film, it was one of those that I wasn’t entirely looking forward to watching. There have been so many mediocre heist films in the past few years that it was a good chance that THE TOWN wouldn’t introduce anything new or spectacular that hadn’t been seen before. And really, that’s true. There are no big chase scenes that stand out nor any overly exciting standoffs between cops and robbers but there is a lot of interesting character development that is uncommon in such movies.
Doug MacRay is your typical townie that has fallen into a crummy situation. After getting hurt during his promising hockey career, he must come home where his father is in jail for robbing banks, his high school buddy is just out of jail for murder and his cracked out semi-girlfriend is leaning on him to support her kid. MacRay is an easy character to like and one we root for even though he has made bad choices. When he tells his buddy Jim that he wants “out of the business”, the audience has this fleeting moment where we think he’ll be able to live happily ever after with Claire and finally get his life back on track. Unfortunately, deep down we all know there is no way that can happen but because of the struggles we see MacRay go through we still hope for the best.
Ben Affleck did an amazing job directing this film. His pacing throughout the entire movie was steady and true. It would have been so easy for him to make the robberies or the chase scenes over the top intense, but the audience felt the same amount of intensity during the shoot-out as they did when Jim comes up to Claire and Doug while they are having a coffee in an outside cafe. Not many directors can pull this off because they get too wrapped up in long pauses to create empty sympathy or they put all their stock in the chase scene that lasts for ten minutes too long. Affleck’s directing is the one thing in this film that stands out above all else.
THE TOWN is one of those pieces that every film student should see so they can properly understand the importance of pacing as well as character development and how important it is to keep both going throughout the entire movie. If we had more heist films like the THE TOWN they might not get such a bad rap, but then again we wouldn’t be able to appreciate this piece of work properly.
Video(1080p HD 16×9 2.4:1): Even though this film has a dark palette, every scene is clean and the colors look great.
Audio (5.1 DTS-HD): No problems here, the dialogue is just as clear as each explosion.
Theatrical and Extended Cut Audio Commentaries: This Blu-ray edition includes both the theatrical version of the film as well as an extended version which includes 28 minutes of additional footage. There are audio commentaries on both tracks and they are pretty much identical with more information in the extended cut (duh). Ben Affleck leads up this commentary track, he’s actually quite interesting and this is worth the listen, but make sure you listen to the extended version.
“Ben’s Boston” Focus Points (30:56): This section is actually broken down into several featurettes and are mildly interesting to watch. Each section focuses on different aspects of the film and include: Pulling Off the Perfect Heist, The Town, Nuns with Guns, The Real People of the Town, Ben Affleck: Director & Actor and The Cathedral of Boston.
Extended Cut Scene Indicator-You know how you watch a film and then get all excited when that film comes out in an extended version, but you don’t quite remember which scenes were in the original and which scenes are added? Well, this feature indicates (by a little icon on the screen) which scenes were added in from the theatrical version. Brilliant, right? Start lobbying the studios to make this mandatory on all Extended Cut Blu-ray editions!