The Town (Ultimate Collector’s Edition) Blu-ray Review

One blue-collar Boston neighborhood has produced more bank robbers and armored car thieves than anywhere in the world.  Charlestown.

This opening text from THE TOWN explains the less fortunate working class world we are about to enter where being a criminal is a trade passed down from generation to generation.  Doug MacRay (Ben Affleck) and his crew are meticulous and clever, scrubbing off their dead skin, tucking their pants into their boots, keeping their time limited and shouting commands in their sweet Bostonian accents while wearing different masks (I personally like the nuns) for each bank heist and armored car lift.  Unfortunately MacRay’s reckless best friend and partner in crime James Coughlin (Jeremy Renner) has gone against protocol by briefly kidnapping the bank manager, Claire (Rebecca Hall), as insurance to help their escape.

Ben Affleck, Jeremy Renner, Albert 'Gloansy' Magloan in The Town

Claire is released but happens to live a few blocks from James.  When his plan is to take care of the problem his own way, Doug steps in not wanting any bloodshed.  Upon tailing Claire, he quickly develops feelings.  As someone not satisfied with what he does or who he is, Doug’s yearning for change coupled with her vulnerability from being kidnapped helps ignite an unlikely relationship between the two.  Unbeknownst to her, the man she is finding comfort in is the very man who is behind her traumatic event.

Rebecca Hall, Ben Affleck in The Town

Everyone turns in phenomenal performances.  Supporting our already mentioned stars is the amazing Chris Cooper in a small but very impactful role as Doug’s imprisoned father.  The late Pete Postlethwaite is especially strong as Fergie, the top bad guy and florist.  And no heist story would be complete with out the law enforcement hot on their trail.  The always charismatic Jon Hamm as FBI S.A. Adam Frawley fills this role nicely.  Affleck and Renner give multiple layers to their characters that help them be relatable and likable even as bad guys.  This is key when your film hinges on the audience rooting for a protagonist who is also a villain.

Jon Hamm, Ben Affleck in The Town

The Blu-ray is almost exactly the same as the previous release.  The only difference for the most part is the alternate ending option (which is interesting but wisely not chosen) and bunch of needless promotional pieces.  I do absolutely love the extended version, which adds nearly a half hour but makes the film actually seem shorter.  The extra character developments and explanations enhance the film’s realism and flow.

The concept is interesting on its own merit with many aspects of danger and drama but director Affleck raises the quality to another level by understanding his actors, the characters, telling a story in an engaging way and pacing the film properly.

Jeremy Renner in The Town

The first time I saw THE TOWN it made the bottom of my top ten best films of 2010 list.  Watching it a second time, I can safely say the exciting bank heist thriller from writer (along with Peter Craig and Aaron Stockard) and director Ben Affleck moves way up in the ranking as an entertainingly smart character drama.  Depending on the success of his upcoming ARGO, Affleck is on the making to become one of our best directors.  He’s made two films now, GONE BABY GONE and THE TOWN and both are among the best of their respective years.

BLU-RAY REVIEW

Video:  (1080p High Definition 16×9 2.4:1) A great looking picture that captures all the Boston tones.

Audio:  (DTS-HD MA) An excellent sound with varying degrees of detail through the action and drama within the film.

Blu-ray Disc 1 – Extended Cut with Alternate Ending

The Town: A Director’s Journey (30:00): Ben Affleck does an excellent job talking about the casting all the wonderful actors and certain scenes that he added for the extended version and alternate ending.

Commentary By Ben Affleck:  Affleck gives a deep insightful commentary about making THE TOWN.  His comments come from a person who is a fan of movies and understands what the audience might want to hear.  He even points out mistakes and continuity problems.  He rerecorded over the new added scenes and the last section of the film with an alternate ending. Ultimately this is a pretty interesting teaching tool.

Blu-ray Disc 2 – Original Theatrical Version and Extended Cut 

Ben’s Boston (30:52):  Broken down in about five segments with the choice to watch with THE TOWN or separately, this is another interesting look at the making of process but it also repeats some of Affleck’s comments from the first disc and uses lots of film footage.

Commentary on the Theatrical and Extended Versions by Ben Affleck:  These are the same as the commentary from the previous disc. 

Disc 3 DVD

48-Page Behind-the-Scenes Photo Book

Poster-Size Map of Charlestown with Notes on Scenes from THE TOWN

Director’s Letter

Film Prop Reproductions:

15-Page FBI Report

4 Mug Shot Cards

Vericom Employee File

Rub-On Tattoo Sheet

OVERALL 4
VERDICT:
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