What Affleck lacks in acting talent, he makes up for in his directing of “The Town”

Anna Slayton

The trailer for the movie “The Town” successfully captured what most movie-goers love: a couple of intense gun fight scenes, a forbidden love story, and of course the characters’ struggle with good and evil. The audience got this exactly, along with impressive acting from the main characters as well as the supporting cast.

Ben Affleck’s character, Doug MacRay, commits the majority of the robberies and serves as the mastermind behind the crimes. Affleck also takes on the role of director for this movie and assisted in writing it as well.

The movie opens with a bank robbery by MacRay and his three friends, all wearing masks and black clothing. The robbery, being meticulously planned, included taking the money and Clare Keesey (Rebecca Hall), the bank manager, hostage for a short period of time to “rattle her” and threaten her enough to make her afraid to talk to the FBI.

Throughout the film, Affleck showed his editing skills by creatively transitioning from showing the scene through a security camera in the bank to viewing the heist from the perspective of an ordinary camera-man. This transition intensified the scene because during the footage shot via security camera there was no sound, which made the shift to and from the different angles more noticeable.

Though filled with tough characters and immoral acts, Affleck’s role reveals his soft side when he tells Keesey she should not be afraid because nothing is going to happen to her, which proves true after they let her go, unharmed.

The character of James Coughlin (Jeremy Renner), MacRay’s long-time best friend and partner throughout the heists, provides an intriguing foil. Coughlin not only unnecessarily took Keesey hostage, but he also kills many people throughout the movie without thinking twice about it. On the other hand, MacRay doesn’t kill one person throughout the film, thus compelling the audience to root for his success as the plot deepens.

MacRay ends up dating Keesey in order to keep tabs on her, but quickly begins to fall for her. Due to the struggle between the life MacRay has led his whole life, and the new, opportunity-filled life Keesey offers, this relationship poses many issues that MacRay is forced to work through during the film. The movie successfully follows MacRay through this battle between two worlds, while creating tension due to the intense, meticulous heists.

Affleck cast actors with “clean-cut” images and provided them with more rugged roles than normal. For example Blake Lively, who has appeared in films such as “The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants” and the hit show “Gossip Girl” as a normal, upper-class teenage girl, shocked audience members when she provided a convincing portrayal of a bottom-class, cocaine addicted, single mom.

The movie takes place in Charlestown, Boston, a town that produces the most bank and armored-car robbers in the country. Affleck enjoys directing movies with the gritty backgrounds because he grew up in the same type of areas.

Affleck spent months researching for his most recent film by going to prisons and interviewing criminals that he planned to portray throughout the movie. This brought a deeper reality to the plot which made Affleck’s performance on and off the screen much more enjoyable.