Dre Rivas July 20, 2010
It doesn’t matter how many Surviving Christmases there are, it doesn’t matter how many Pearl Harbors … it’s hard to hate anyone who — like Andy Dufresne crawling through miles of toilet sludge — went through Jenny From the Block, Gigli, and “animal crackers” all in the span of one career. That’s resilience and it must be respected, even if he was largely responsible for the massive, self-inflicted, damaging trauma. Ben Affleck is a survivor. I don’t dislike the guy. I root for the guy, and after seeing the trailer for The Town, I’m rooting for him again.
The Town may turn out to be one of the most important films of Ben Affleck’s career. If it impresses, it proves his directorial debut, Gone Baby Gone — widely considered to be one of the best films of 2007 — was no fluke. Affleck has never impressed me much as an actor, though he has his fair share of solid performances on his resume. But I flat-out loved what he’s done behind the camera. Last time out he directed kid brother Casey Affleck to great success. We hadn’t really seen a performance from Casey like the one he gave in that film (The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford was released later). Affleck’s success as a director led some to wonder if he should maybe plant himself behind the camera for the rest of his career.
I assume Affleck enjoys acting too much to go this route. And this time he’s directing himself. If he is half as successful directing himself as he is other actors, it might be a great gig for all involved, including us. If he flexes his muscles behind the camera again, if he continues to get good performances out of his cast, and nails all the narrative elements that made Gone Baby Gone a little more than just a kidnapping mystery, he could gain newfound respect in the industry as well as with audiences.
There hasn’t been much hubbub about the film, but with the trailer attached to many Inception screenings, the talk will certainly begin. In this Boston-based crime film, Affleck plays a thief who falls for a teller (Rebecca Hall) at a bank he knocks over. Jon Hamm plays an FBI agent who’s trying to track him down. Jeremy Renner, Chris Cooper, and Blake Lively ride shotgun. If it sounds “been there, done that” I would argue so did Gone Baby Gone, at least on paper. And like that film, I suspect The Town (based on the Chuck Hogan novel Prince of Thieves) will carry with it a great deal of weight. The trailer makes me think it might be a winner.
- – - – - – - – - – - – - – -
Dre writes for Film.com weekly.
Categories: No CategoriesTags: Ben affleck, Casey affleck, Movie trailers, The town