Festival season is in full swing with the Venice, Telluride, and Toronto Film Festivals opening back to back. Over the past week we’ve been bringing you early reviews from some of the most talked about movies on the circuit and the latest is The Town. It’s directed by/ stars Ben Affleck, and is based on the book The Prince of Thieves by Chuck Hogan. The trailer makes the film look quite intriguing, but does it live up to the hype?

The Story:

Brushing aside the light alt-indie trappings of his well liked directorial debut, ‘Gone Baby Gone’, this new soulful shoot-em-up, ‘The Town’, plays it straighter than a pool cue, offering the sort of solid, proficiently written cops ‘n’ robbers yarn that is the stuff of a thousand ‘Bluffer’s Guide to Moviemaking’ tomes. The film follows the genre rule book line by line, detail by detail. It’s hard to fault ‘The Town’ as a slice of robust craftmanship. But it’s a movie that has little to distinguish it from a very large collection of similar tales.” [Time Out London]

“The script, credited to Peter Craig, Affleck and Aaron Stockard, taps into the right veins of provincialism and sarcasm but moves less surely between reckless action and intimate drama.” [THR]

The Acting:

Jeremy Renner gives a superheated performance as the team’s loose cannon, and Jon Hamm’s unflappable special agent character gives him a few key moments to play and relish.” [HitFix]

The Direction:

He really is two for two with the films he’s directed. I perhaps slightly prefer Gone Baby Gone, because it was less traditional, but The Town is a very assured and very powerful second feature all the same. And unlike that dream movie, there is real action here, with blazing guns, exhilarating car chases and violence with authentically fatal consequences.” [Empire]

“Ben Affleck is, at heart, an extremely conventional storyteller.” … “largely successful, impressively acted, impeccably shot by Robert “There Will Be Blood” Elswit, and it tells its story with an impressive eye for what makes Boston special. I love filmmaking about a specific place, where your location is a character just like anyone onscreen, and Affleck’s Boston is impressively rendered as a real place. [HitFix]


“The film, which allows its flawed hero an ending he perhaps doesn’t deserve, has a good mix of moments recalling a Bostonian version of The Wire and the car chases and gun fights of more orthodox thrillers. It should help Affleck on his way as an actor/director of some note.” [This is London]

It sounds like Affleck has once again created a gritty masterpiece that centers on the moral dilemma of a man and the influence of those surrounding him. He’s turning into quite the filmmaker.

What do you think of the early buzz surrounding The Town?