MOVIE REVIEW- Affleck's effort<i>: The Town</i> shoots, but does it score?


There's a scene in Ben Affleck's The Town that expertly exploits the conversations we have with movie characters. In critical moments we urgently send mental instructions to the screen. Let me set up such a moment here. Doug cares for Claire. There's something she mustn't know about him. If she should see the tattoo on the back of Jem's neck, she would know everything. Jem unexpectedly joins Doug and Claire at a table. With hard looks and his whole manner, Doug signals him to get the hell away from the table. So do we. Jem is a dangerous goofball, and sadistically lingers. He doesn't know the tattoo is a giveaway. 

If a film can bring us to this point and make us feel anxiety, it has done something right. The Town, Affleck's second film as a director, wants to do something more, to make a biographical and even philosophical statement about the culture of crime, but it doesn't do that as successfully. Here is a well-made crime procedural, and audiences are likely to enjoy it at that level, but perhaps the mechanics of movie crime got in the way of Affleck's higher ambitions.... [full review]