Affleck saved by a few good plot twists

Posted by Rachel Kim

Ben Affleck tries his hand at directing with "The Town" after his critically acclaimed directorial debut, "Gone Baby Gone." Unfortunately, this one falls flat.

"The Town" is a crime-thriller that follows Doug MacRay, our troubled star from Charlestown, Boston. Our typically flawed hero is tied to his notorious hometown and dark childhood.

Fallen far from his pro-hockey days, MacRay wreaks havoc and robs the banks of Boston with his neighborhood friends, Jim Coughlin (Jeremy Renner) and Desmond Elden (Owen Burke).

When one of the plans falls apart, MacRay and his gang become the new targets of FBI agent, Adam Frawley (Jon Hamm). MacRay finds himself in more trouble when he falls for the hostage, Claire Keesey (Rebecca Hall), a witness to the bank robbery who is not aware of MacRay's true identity.

Take the oft-used story about the bad streets of Boston, mix it with a cliché love story, add in a rushed ending and the result is "The Town."

Writers Peter Craig and Affleck tackle this overly familiar plot and develop some good characters. A few good plot twists save them from losing the audience's interest.

The few nods to "Good Will Hunting" are endearing, but Craig and Affleck make the mistake of giving too much attention to the personal troubles and love life of MacRay, leaving other characters like Frawley with little screen time and character depth.

As a director, Affleck is able to successfully control the audience's attention with the well-timed unfolding of the characters' stories. Still, "The Town" reminds the audience why Affleck has had better luck working behind the camera, rather than in front of it.

The car chases, elaborate bank robberies and active plot make "The Town" an entertaining, fun movie that commands the audience's attention until the final scene.

However, the mediocre acting and lack of an innovative plot weigh down Affleck's potential directorial skill.

Once Affleck is finally able to separate himself from his own native city of Boston, he may make the full transition from actor to director and find himself capable of continuing his Hollywood career as a successful director.

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