It appears Hollywood has a big crush on Boston nowadays, with a slew of movies being filmed in Boston or even about the city popping up more and more regular than ever before. “The Town” is just another example of that love affair.

The film is directed, co written and starred by the golden boy of Boston himself, Ben Affleck. The movie takes place and was filmed in Charlestown and revolves around a crew of bank robbers. Doug MacRay (Affleck) is the leader of the pack, which also includes his best friend Jem (Jeremy Renner).

Directed by: Ben Affleck
Written by:Ben Affleck, Peter Craig and Aaron Stockard. Based on the novel “Prince of Thieves,” by Chuck Hogan.
Starring: Ben Affleck, Rebecca Hall, Jon Hamm, Jeremy Renner and Blake Lively
Rated: R

Doug’s life changes when he falls in love with bank manager Claire Kessey (Rebecca Hall) after robbing her bank and briefly keeping her hostage. Unbeknown to Claire, she carries on a relationship with a man that has caused her much strife. Doug soon must choose between the woman he loves and his friends when he wants to leave the town for good.

Affleck’s directing shines in his second film, proving “Gone Baby Gone” was more than a stroke of luck. Affleck perfectly balances between the pristine historical beauty and the Irish grit of Boston.

His directing is certainly better than his writing (and sometimes his acting). The movie has a perfect pace to it that keeps the viewers entertained.

Affleck is strong as Doug MacRay. It’s obvious that Doug doesn’t belong in Charlestown and could do way better for himself than being a bank robber but doesn’t know how to cut ties with his family of criminals. His romance with Claire, while a little far fetch, comes off as endearing and genuine. Much of that can be accredited to Hall who shines in the role as Claire. Hall brings a mix of fragility and strength that is hard to find in Hollywood.

Jon Hamm is believable as the brooding FBI agent wanting to pin down the bad guys. Blake Lively leaves the Upper East Side and gossip girl to play Affleck’s old flame and looks ridiculous in the oversize hoop earrings, overdone blue eye shadow grouped with a bad Boston accent.

The breakout performance belongs to Renner, who intertwines a harsh exterior and a devil may care attitude with a humor that makes you like a character that can scare you to death. Every scene Renner is in belongs to him, and the viewer tends to pay more attention than any other actor, including Affleck.

The only thing the movie is really lacking is a powerful ending. As the movie creeps closer and closer to the end, the viewer keeps waiting to be smacked in the face with a cathartic surprise that never comes. This does work a bit in the film’s favor, because it leaves the viewer wanting for more, but we think that a commanding ending would have made this overall entertaining movie a more compelling piece of cinema.

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Sara Brown is a Blast staff writer

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