|"I swear, Officer, it was Mother Teresa who robbed that bank."|
His comfort zone is good for us, too. The Town, like the other two films I listed, is an excellent movie. Affleck continues to prove, as with Gone Baby Gone, that he is a talented filmmaker. He puts his personal stamp on this one, painting Charlestown -- a borough of Boston about one-square mile -- in loving strokes while still showing the menace lurking beneath its quaint exterior. And he populates the film with characters whose faces are distinct and colorful, giving us a sense that this world exists and moves outside of the actions of its characters. These touches are what elevate the film above the cop and robber genre, making it a tense drama about tough choices, harsh consequences, and the gray area in between.
You can't have robbers without cops, though. And the cops come in the form of the FBI, led by special agent Adam Frawley (Jon Hamm). He's hot on the case and seems to take Doug's bank robbing business a little more personally than we'd expect a government agent to do.
This set-up is nice for a typical heist film, but Affleck has other things on his storytelling agenda. He uses the climate of impending doom to delve into the unstated culture of borough communities, address class issues, and show the power of deception on a person's heart and soul. I'm not trying to say that The Town is profound by any stretch of the imagination. This is not an Ingmar Bergman film. But, it is to say that there is more to this movie than just a crime story.