The Town (2010 film)
Theatrical release poster
|Directed by||Ben Affleck|
|Produced by||Graham King
|Screenplay by||Ben Affleck
|Based on||Prince of Thieves
by Chuck Hogan
|Music by||Harry Gregson-Williams
|Editing by||Dylan Tichenor|
Thunder Road Film
|Distributed by||Warner Bros.|
|Running time||125 minutes|
The Town is a 2010 American crime drama film starring, co-written, and directed by Ben Affleck adapted from Chuck Hogan's novel Prince of Thieves. The film opened in theaters in the United States on September 17, 2010, at number one with more than $23 million and positive reviews. Jeremy Renner was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor for his role as James "Jem" Coughlin.
Four lifelong friends from the Boston neighborhood of Charlestown—Doug MacRay, James "Jem" Coughlin, Albert "Gloansy" Magloan, and Desmond "Dez" Elden—rob a bank. They take the manager, Claire Keesey, hostage but release her without harm. Doug follows Claire to prevent Jem from eliminating her as a witness, and a romance grows between them which he hides from the gang. As they grow closer, Doug tells Claire of his search for his long-lost mother, and how he imagined she went to live with his aunt in Florida. He also blew a chance to be a professional hockey player for a life of crime. She tells Doug she saw a tattoo on one of the robbers, and he realizes she can identify Jem and send them all to jail. He knows that Jem will kill her if he realizes the truth, and he persuades her that the authorities cannot protect her either so she decides not to tell the police. But Doug is increasingly disenchanted with his criminal lifestyle and the lies he has to tell.
FBI Special Agent Adam Frawley surveils the gang and recognizes their ties to local crime lord Fergus "Fergie" Colm, who has another robbery planned for them. During a visit to his father Stephen in prison, Doug reveals his plans to leave Charlestown and go to Florida. Stephen ends the visit by telling his son, "I'll see you again, this side or the other." The gang's next robbery in the North End of Boston goes awry, and the gang barely escapes. Frawley interrogates the gang, but fails to get any confessions and is forced to release them. Doug asks Claire if she will go away with him, and she agrees. Grasping at straws, Frawley wiretaps Claire's phone when he learns she quit her job and threatens to prosecute her as an accomplice after he realizes she is seeing Doug. Shocked to discover her lover was one of her assailants, she decides to help Frawley.
Meanwhile Fergie and Jem are pressuring Doug about the next job, but Doug is determined to get out despite all his old loyalties. Fergie finally threatens to kill Claire, and reveals to Doug how he controlled his father by making his mother an addict, which led to her suicide. Doug gives in, but swears he will kill Fergie if anything happens to Claire.
At Fenway Park, Doug and Jem enter disguised as Boston police officers, nab $3.5 million in cash, and prepare to escape in an ambulance disguised as paramedics. But Doug's ex-girlfriend, Krista, threatened by Frawley, reveals enough for the FBI to surround Fenway before the gang gets out. The gang is caught in a firefight with FBI SWAT and Dez and Gloansy are killed, but Doug and Jem slip out in their police uniforms. Frawley spots Jem, they exchange gunfire, and Jem is wounded but determined not to go back to prison, so he rushes the police and is killed. Doug sees it all but knows he cannot save Jem and walks away.
Knowing Claire is in danger and he'll never escape as long as Fergie is alive, Doug kills Fergie and his bodyguard and calls Claire to ask her to come away with him to Florida. Watching from across the street, Doug sees the FBI is there as Claire tells him to come over, but eventually she gives him a cue to warn him away. Doug flees, donning an MBTA uniform and escaping from Boston by stealing a bus. Later, Claire finds a bag buried in her community garden containing the stolen money, a tangerine, and a note from Doug, suggesting she can make better use of the money than he can, ending with, "I'll see you again, this side or the other." Claire donates the money, in memory of Doug's mother, to refurbish the local ice hockey arena that Doug once played in. And from the deck of a small house, Doug looks out over the water, alone, seemingly safe in Florida.
- Ben Affleck as Douglas "Doug" MacRay, a former pro hockey prospect, addict, career criminal and professional bank robber.
- Jon Hamm as Special Agent Adam Frawley, an FBI agent in pursuit of MacRay and his team.
- Rebecca Hall as Claire Keesey, a bank manager who falls in love with Doug.
- Jeremy Renner as James "Jem" Coughlin, a career criminal, Doug's best friend, and a member of Doug's team.
- Blake Lively as Krista Coughlin, Jem's sister and Doug's ex-girlfriend who has a 19-month-old daughter, Shyne.
- Chris Cooper as Stephen MacRay, Doug's incarcerated father.
- Slaine as Albert "Gloansy" Magloan, a getaway driver and member of Doug's team.
- Titus Welliver as Boston Police Department Officer Dino Ciampa, Adam Frawley's partner in the robbery task-force.
- Pete Postlethwaite as Fergus "Fergie" Colm, the owner of a flower shop and a local crime boss.
- Owen Burke as Desmond "Dez" Elden, a member of Doug's team and a systems technician at a cable company called Vericom.
The production began filming late August 2009 in Boston. The former MASSBank branch located in Melrose, Massachusetts, was used as the location for the first robbery of the film, taking on the name Cambridge Merchants Bank (the exterior shots, however, are of Cambridge Savings Bank in Harvard Square). Filming also took place at Mohegan Sun in Uncasville, Connecticut, for casino scenes, Massachusetts Correctional Institution – Cedar Junction in Walpole, Massachusetts, for use of their visiting room, and at Anderson Regional Transportation Center in Woburn, Massachusetts, for the ending Amtrak scenes.
Box office 
The film took first place at the box office during its opening weekend, taking in $23.8 million. The Town grossed $92.1 million in the United States and Canada with an additional $61.8 million in other territories for a total of $154 million worldwide on a production budget of $37 million.
Home media 
The film was released on Blu-ray disc and DVD on December 17, 2010 . Both versions include special features and commentary including a look at Affleck as a director and actor. The extended/unrated version is a Blu-ray/DVD/Digital Copy bundle which includes 28 minutes of additional footage, taking the runtime to over 153 minutes.
2012 re-release 
On February 5, 2012, the AMC Loews Boston Common movie theater hosted an "exclusive engagement" of The Town (Take 2), wherein three showings of the film, with an alternate, darker ending, were shown. Immediately preceding each screening, a vice president from Warner Bros. Home Entertainment thanked all those in attendance, including Titus Welliver (Dino Ciampa), Dennis McLaughlin (Rusty), and Ben Affleck's mother, for coming out and supporting director Ben Affleck's "preferred" version of the film, leading to a short, prerecorded introduction by Affleck himself. Earlier that day, the intersection of Tremont and Avery streets was temporarily renamed "The Town Take 2 Place" in a small ceremony, attended by Welliver and Boston city officials. The Boston-only event acted as a premiere for the forthcoming The Town: Ultimate Collectors Edition DVD/Blu-ray release on March 6, 2012.
Critical response 
Review aggregator Rotten Tomatoes reports that 94% of 208 critics have given the film a positive review, with a rating average of 7.7 out of 10. The site describes the film as "tense, smartly written, and wonderfully cast". Metacritic, which assigns a weighted average score out of 100 to reviews from mainstream critics, gives the film a score of 74 based on 42 reviews.
Roger Ebert gave the film 3 out of 4 stars, praising Jeremy Renner's performance and Affleck's direction. Several reviewers praised the film's action sequences. In his review for The New York Times, A. O. Scott commented on the opening heist, "That sequence, like most of the other action set pieces in the film, is lean, brutal and efficient, and evidence of Mr. Affleck’s skill and self-confidence as a director." Xan Brooks, in The Guardian, wrote that the action sequences were "sharply orchestrated" but added "it's a bogus, bull-headed enterprise all the same; a film that leaves no cliche untrampled." Justin Chang wrote in Variety that the action scenes strike "an ideal balance between kineticism and clarity" aided by cinematographer Robert Elswit and film editor Dylan Tichenor. Richard Roeper of the Chicago Sun Times gave the film an A+, noting that he found the film incredibly similar to Michael Mann's Heat, which he described as "one of [his] favorite movies of all time." The reviewers at Spill.com also praised one of the shootout scenes, saying "It is surely the best shootout scene we have seen in decades." Writing in the Seattle Post-Intelligencer, Laremy Lengel titled his review "The Town Works Best if You Avoid the Heat," also referencing Mann's film.
As a Boston-based crime drama, the film forms part of a "crime-movie subgenre" typically marked by "flavorsome accents, pungent atmosphere and fatalistic undertow," according to Chang. Within that subgenre, which includes The Boondock Saints, The Departed, Mystic River and Affleck's Gone Baby Gone, The Town is more of a straightforward crime-procedural and has a more optimistic outlook.
|Broadcast Film Critics Association Award||Best Film||Nominated|
|Best Supporting Actor||Jeremy Renner||Nominated|
|Best Screenplay||Ben Affleck, Peter Craig and Aaron Stockard||Nominated|
|Best Action Film||Nominated|
|National Board of Review of Motion Pictures||Best Acting by an Ensemble Cast||Nominated|
|Academy Award||Best Supporting Actor||Jeremy Renner||Nominated|
|Golden Globe Award||Best Supporting Actor in a Motion Picture||Nominated|
|Screen Actors Guild Award||Best Supporting Actor||Nominated|
|Satellite Award||Best Supporting Actor||Nominated|
|Best Adapted Screenplay||Peter Craig||Nominated|
|Best Editing||Dylan Tichenor||Nominated|
|BAFTA Award||Best Supporting Actor||Pete Postlethwaite (posthumous)||Nominated|
Charlestown, bank robbery, and crime 
A voice in the trailer of the film says: "There are over 300 bank robberies in Boston every year. Most of these professionals live in a 1-square-mile neighborhood called Charlestown." In fact, there were 23 reported bank robberies in the entire Commonwealth of Massachusetts in the first quarter of 2010, compared with 49 in Illinois and 136 in California, according to the FBI.
The film itself, however, only states that "One blue-collar Boston neighborhood has produced more bank robbers and armored car thieves than anywhere in the world." It then quotes an unnamed Boston Robbery Task Force Federal Agent as saying, "Bank robbery became like a trade in Charlestown, passed down from father to son." During the film, Agent Frawley tells Claire something along these lines, and says that when the BPD gets a call about an armored car robbery it has become standard procedure to close the Charlestown Bridge.
The film also ends with a written disclaimer: "Charlestown's reputation as a breeding ground for armed robbers is authentic. However, this film all but ignores the great majority of the residents of Charlestown, past and present, who are the same good and true people found most anywhere," to whom the film is dedicated.
According to a September 2010 article in The Boston Globe, Charlestown was once known as an area where bank robbers were concentrated, but has not been since the mid-1990s, and the subject has been a sore point for "Townies". Now much of the neighborhood has been gentrified. There is some sense of rivalry between Townies, people who lived in the historically Irish-Catholic neighborhood for decades, and "Tunies", largely white-collar workers who arrived with gentrification, but most of that has died down, the newspaper reports.  The film makes reference to the definition of "Tunies" during one of Doug and Claire's dates.
In the early 1990s, an increase in the number of bank and armored car robberies by Townies focused attention on Charlestown. In one heist in Hudson, New Hampshire, two guards were killed, and is alluded to in the film - during a scene where Agent Frawley is briefing his task force, he mentions that Doug's father is serving life for a notorious robbery in Nashua. According to Frawley, the elder Macray hijacked a "bread truck" (armored car) up to New Hampshire, and when one of the guards saw his face, he executed both of them with their own weapons. Frawley notes that this incident led to the passing of regulations prohibiting the driver from leaving the cab even if their partner was being held at gunpoint. Charles Hogan got the idea for his novel, on which the film is based, in 1995. "It was just so remarkable that this one very small community was the focus for bank robbers," he said, but he was very aware that crime was only one part of the community, and he did not want to make all residents of the neighborhood look like criminals. At the film's premiere, Affleck made a similar statement: "Charlestown isn’t full of bank robbers and Dorchester isn’t full of bad guys and Southie isn’t full of math geniuses or bad people."
Jack O'Callahan, a Charlestown native born in 1957, said there was an element of crime in Charlestown when he grew up there, "But it didn't bleed into the neighborhood. And those guys were pretty good parents who went to church on Sundays. They were gangsters, but they were good neighbors."
- Fritz, Ben (2010-09-16). "Movie projector: 'Easy A' expected to lead 'The Town,' 'Devil,' 'Alpha and Omega'". Los Angeles Times (Tribune Company). Retrieved 2010-09-16.
- The Town (2010). Box Office Mojo. Retrieved 2011-02-03.
- Miller, Neil (2009-08-27). "Blake Lively Goes to ‘Town’ for Ben Affleck". Film School Rejects. Retrieved 2009-09-05.
- Kit, Borys (2009-08-26). "Blake Lively going to 'Town' for WB, Legendary". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved 2009-09-16.
- Gayle, Fee; Raposa, Laura (2009-09-01). "Ben Affleck, Blake Lively are the talk of ‘The Town’". Boston Herald. Retrieved 2009-09-05.
- PopSugar (2009-09-01). "Blake Gets a Baby Welcome to Ben's Town". PopSugar. Retrieved 2009-09-05.
- DeMaina, Daniel (2009-10-09). "Melrose: 'Lights, cameras, action' in city as Ben Affleck movie shoots locally this month". Melrose Free Press. GateHouse Media. Retrieved 2009-10-10.
- Staff (September 20, 2010). "'The Town' takes box office win with $23.8M". Google Search. Associated Press. Retrieved September 20, 2010.
- "The Town (US - DVD R1 | BD) in News". /Film. Retrieved November 26, 2010.
- "'Town' meeting in Hub as Affleck unveils 'Take 2'". Boston Herald. Retrieved 2012-02-05.
- "The Town Movie Reviews, Pictures". Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved 2010-09-18.
- "The Town Reviews". Metacritic. Retrieved 2011-10-01.
- Ebert, Roger (2010-09-15). "The Town Review". Chicago Sun-Times.
- Scott, A.O. Bunker Hill to Fenway: A Crook’s Freedom Trail. New York Times (2010-09-16)
- Brooks, Xan. The Town Film Review. The Guardian (2010-09-09). Retrieved 2010-09-18.
- Chang, Justin. The Town Review. Variety (2010-09-09). Retrieved 2010-09-18.
- Roeper, Richard (2010-09-26). "The Town Review". Chicago Sun-Times.
- Lengel, Laremy. "The Town Works Best if You Avoid the Heat". Seattle Post Intelligencer, 2010-09-17.
- Baker, Billy (2010-09-18). "Robbed of its new image? Charlestown hopes not Affleck’s new film is the talk of the Townies". The Boston Globe. Retrieved 2010-09-18.
- Review: The Town. NewCityFilm.com. Retrieved 2011-02-03
- Woodman, Tenley, "Author Hogan talks about his kind of ‘Town’". Boston Herald (2010-09-16). Retrieved 2010-09-18
- Fee, Gayle Fee & Raposa, Laura. "Stars go to ‘Town’ for premiere!", "Inside Track" (2010-09-15). Retrieved 2010-09-18.
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