The campaign for Ben Affleck as a genre auteur (think Clint Eastwood) started with Gone Baby Gone and got louder with this bank-heist drama. But The Town didn’t convince me that the actor has anything particularly special to offer behind the camera. Engaging enough, with raw performances by Rebecca Hall, Jeremy Renner and Blake Lively, the movie does prove Affleck to be a capable handler of robberies and car chases. Less appealing is the familiar, sinner-saint storyline that Affleck, also co-screenwriter, gives himself. He plays Doug MacRay, leader of a vicious band of Boston thieves who falls for a teller (Hall) when she’s been taken hostage. Because this all revolves around Affleck, The Town is a curiosity; directed by him under another name and it would be forgettable.
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