Before reading another word, I have a confession to make. I like Ben Affleck, I have always liked him; I even liked “Pearl Harbor” the movie that was universally panned by all who have written one word of film criticism or those few who viewed the movie. That being said I thought “The Town” vindicated the scathing, divisive, pejorative reviews of the past. The man has staying power and proved his true mettle and more than skimmed the surface with his acting capabilities.
“The Town” is not a great film, maybe not even memorable but it has heart, grit and worthy of a few hours of your time; the characters, scintillating and stunningly performed by charismatic actors hold your attention. They are bank robbers who are following the pattern of criminality that “Charleston” boasts of. They are second generation hoodlums, perfecting the skills of their forbearers and accomplishing their goals.
Doug, depicted by Affleck is tiring of the profession, looking for legitimacy in all the wrong places. His closest friend Jem, (Jeremy Renner, “The Hurt Locker) is explosive, in total possession of the killer instinct, loves and wants only to capitalize on his demented proficiencies; a powder keg of destructiveness. The film sizzles with his debauchery!
Rebecca Hall (“Vicky Christina Barcelona”) is marvelous as Claire, the kidnapped victim of the pivotal bank robbery on which the film hinges. The love story is genuinely beautiful, if predictably to be sacrificed on the altar of the illegal.
Juicy bit roles by Jon Hamm (“Mad Men”), Pete Postlethwaite, and Chris Cooper inject the film with a flavorful level of intrigue.
TWO & 1/2 STARS!!
SKIP THIS FRENCH FLICK
She is elegantly drab, poignantly sad, a mysterious school teacher, running away from her modicum of virtuosity as a violinist. She meets the father of one of her students and zeros in on intermingling her Mozart/Beethoven aesthetic with his Iggy Pop/ Joy Division mentality. There is one scene that redeems the movie from sinking into a quagmire of total tedium, but not worth sitting through one of the worst sound tracks (at times wondered if it was intentional on the part of the filmmakers or the antiquated equipment of the theatre) ever visited upon an unsuspecting and undeserving audience.
Mademoiselle Chambon (Sandrine Kiberlain) remains an enigma, Jean (Vincent London) as the boyfriend is devoid, bereft of complexity and the movie falls into the category, aptly described in the words of Gertrude Stein as “there’s no there, there”!
FOR LOVERS OF FRENCH FILMS……………THIS IS A MUST
Beautiful, ingratiating, joyously uplifting fun. The premise is ingenuity at its peak; Alex is hired to bifurcate unhappy women from their meaningless, disappointing relationships. He excels in his profession, using the tool of seduction but only to a point; there is not one salacious second in this hilarious romp of a romantic comedy.
Alex (ingeniously played by Romaine Duris) has hardened his own heart until he is hired to “kill” a marriage 10 days before its commencement; Juliette (singer/actress Vanessa Paradis) is a conundrum, a puzzle, a heartbreaker and a dazzling assignment that has Alex and his partners pulling outrageous stunts, plundering all the rules to change the mind, will of this indomitable, intrepid woman. Rarely does one see charm, devious tactics and enchanting encounters blended to such delirious perfection.
The iconic song from “Dirty Dancing” (1987) screams with the vibrating movements of Alex and Juliette. Patrick Swayze and Jennifer Grey would have relished the competition.
The movie takes flight and never lands, just fades with the last credit. You will leave knowing that you’ve had “the time of your life”, I did!
THREE & 1/2 STARS!!!