The Town (Blu-ray)

January 28, 2012 7 Min Read

Review by: Matt Brighton

Plot: What’s it about?

Ben Affleck has been on the Hollywood spotlight for nearly years now. I think the first time I remember seeing him was a bit part in 1992’s School Ties and he had a larger role in the following year’s Dazed and Confused. But it was with writer/director Kevin Smith’s movies that really got him noticed. Granted Mallrats┬ádidn’t really set the world on fire but Affleck had a much larger role. It was with 1997’s Chasing Amy that really got him noticed and sometimes that’s all it takes. From there he literally went “Hollywood” with such big-budget movies like Armageddon and Pearl Harbor and of course his Oscar winning movie Good Will Hunting didn’t hurt either. Affleck fell off the radar for a few years, but has still managed to still say in the spotlight and with The Town marks Affleck’s directorial debut. The film takes place in Affleck’s hometown, Boston, and I couldn’t think of a better locale for a film like this. Yes, there have been movies about bank robbers before, but somehow this one feels pretty genuine.

We meet Doug MacRay (Ben Affleck), James Coughlin (Jeremy Renner) and the rest of the crew as they’re robbing a bank. This isn’t their first bank and by the looks of it, it won’t be their last. In the midst of this latest escapade, they take the bank manager (Rebecca Hall) hostage. They get away with it, but Doug tails Claire (Hall) to make sure she doesn’t run to the FBI with any information. As it turns out, Doug and Claire start to see one another though she’s oblivious that Doug was one of the bank robbers. At the same time the FBI led by agent Adam Frawley (Jon Hamm) is hot on their tail, just waiting for them to make a mistake. As is the case with bank robbers, it would seem that there’s always another in the works. But will they get caught by the FBI and what of Doug and Claire’s relationship?

I was somewhat skeptical of The Town namely because it had Ben Affleck’s name all over it. I’ve grown to appreciate Affleck over the years and have loved some of his offbeat choices as an actor (namely Hollywoodland and State of Play) as of late. I’ll give credit where it’s due, though, as “The Town” was a two hour movie that felt like it was 45 minutes long. Translation: it gets its claws in you and doesn’t let go. Standing toe to toe with Affleck is Jeremy Renner who some might remember from The Hurt Locker and he’s in fine form once again here. The supporting cast delivers strong performances as well and as much a player in the film is the city of Boston itself. Affleck obviously knows his town and used it wisely in this film. I thoroughly enjoyed the film and despite the subject matter, it’s a gripping film that’s sure to please.

Video: How does it look?

Warner presents “The Town” in a 2.40:1 AVC HD transfer that looks immaculate. I’ve only been to Boston once in my life, but I did see some sights that looked familiar and obviously I’ve seen those same landmarks in other films as well. The overall look of the film is a bit muted, with flesh tones appearing on the washed out side. Detail is amazing though, just take a look at the freckles on Rebecca Hall’s face or the perpetual five o’clock shadow on both Affleck and Jon Hamm. Contrast is well balanced and as we might expect for a new to Blu-ray film, there’s nothing really to complain about in regards to the visuals.

Audio: How does it sound?

One thing that really stood out about the DTS HD Master Audio soundtrack was how surprisingly robust it was. The only downfall about the movie is that Affleck tends to mumble a bit, so I found myself having to kind of decipher what he was saying. Is this a fault of the soundtrack? I wouldn’t say so as the bank robbing scenes sounded good, there are plenty of car chases, tons of bullets fired and even an explosion or two thrown into the mix. While “The Town” isn’t the reference disc you’re looking for, it does its job and does it well.

Supplements: What are the extras?

In regards to supplements, they’re a little sparse. The most notable is that the disc contains the theatrical cut and the extended cut, which is 30 minutes longer. I hadn’t seen the film until it came to Blu-ray, so I watched the theatrical cut and will then go back and watch the extended cut. There’s also a commentary track for “both” versions by Affleck, though his comments do differ on the extended cut for obvious reasons. Affleck is very talkative and it made me appreciate the film that much more, he was very emotionally attached to the film and it shows. We then have “Ben’s Boston” (similar to the extraction mode on “Inception”) in which these features can be played individually or as a whole. We get some tidbits about the locale and so forth. There could have been more, but for right now this is a must see movie and the disc isn’t that bad, either.

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