Generally speaking, I prefer artsy foreign films popular at the Cannes Film Festival and consider Ben Affleck’s usual genre–”romantic comedy” –a contradiction in terms. But I’ll have to make an exception and jump on the bandwagon of praise for Affleck’s latest movie, “The Town.” It’s a crime story meets romance, about a gang of bank robbers in Charlestown, the predominantly Irish neighborhood of Boston. What makes this movie stand out is the fact that the acting is never overdone–if anything, it’s understated–and all the main characters (the gangster hero, the straight-and-narrow woman he falls in love with, the other thieves, even the wiseass but clever FBI agent) seem perfect for their roles. Affleck plays the lead character, Doug Mac Ray, an Irish Mafioso type gone bad by nurture (or lack thereof) rather than nature. Perhaps if Doug had been a born sociopath, it would have been difficult to swallow the character transformation upon which hinges the entire plot of the movie, particularly the romantic story line. But everything about this movie seems compelling, due to the quality of the acting and the apparently well-researched narrative. If you aren’t one of the millions of people who has made this movie a box office hit already, “The Town” is definitely worth seeing.
Claudia Moscovici, literaturesalon.com