Disingenuously, some had suggested that Gone, Baby, Gone, for Ben Affleck, was something of a fluke. I never bought that, finding his directorial debut really quite mature and strong, save for an ending that, even now, I’m not sure I buy. Affleck’s steady hand behind the camera was a significant factor in the quality of the film, and I found it surprising that a select few were arguing a little quickly that it was all a one-off.
Because what Affleck has shown with his second stint behind the camera, The Town, is not only that he’s one of America’s most promising directors right now, but also that he has an ability to cross genres. If Gone, Baby, Gone was a grown-up drama, The Town is a slightly simpler beast, but still with dramatic beats. It’s also a surprisingly strong action-heist movie, with some genuinely terrific sequences.
Affleck gives himself the lead role this time, and he builds on his performance in the little-seen Hollywoodland, creating a character who’s not entirely comfortable with his circumstances, but suitably efficient when the moment comes.
However, it’s not Affleck’s performance that stays in the mind once the credits have rolled. Firstly, there’s Rebecca Hall, who puts in a fine shift here. Jeremy Renner does his stock no harm, either, with a strong supporting turn. But the performance that’s etched in my mind is that of Pete Postlethwaite. I have a bias here, because I’ve been a massive Postlethwaite fan for some time. His loss, earlier this year, was a massive one for acting. The amount he does with little screen time here is testament to that.
The film around him, though, deserves a lot of credit, and surely Ben Affleck has dealt the naysayers of his directorial work a sizeable blow. I, for one, can’t wait to see what he’s up to next, because The Town is just the kind of movie that many of Hollywood’s regular hack directors simply couldn’t hold a torch to. If you missed it at the cinema, do catch up with it on disc.
The picture presentation on the Blu-ray is really quite strong, eating up Affleck’s establishing shots with absolute clarity, and reflecting the look that the director wanted well. The audio, too, matches it well.
You get two cuts of the film on the disc, with an extended version available. And there’s also a commentary track (a very strong one, at that), and a mix of featurettes of varying interest. For the commentary alone, though, the extras package delivers.
The Film:The Disc: