News / Arts & Entertainment

Ben Affleck's 'The Town' Centers on Crime, Redemption

(L-r) SLAINE as Albert “Gloansy” Magloan, BEN AFFLECK as Doug MacRay, JEREMY RENNER as Jem Coughlin and OWEN BURKE as Desmond Elden in Warner Bros. Pictures’ and Legendary Pictures’ crime drama “The Town,” distributed by Warner Bros.Pictures.
(L-r) SLAINE as Albert “Gloansy” Magloan, BEN AFFLECK as Doug MacRay, JEREMY RENNER as Jem Coughlin and OWEN BURKE as Desmond Elden in Warner Bros. Pictures’ and Legendary Pictures’ crime drama “The Town,” distributed by Warner Bros.Pictures.

Multimedia

Audio
TEXT SIZE - +

Ben Affleck explores themes of crime and redemption in his second film as director. Like his 2007 critically acclaimed directing debut, Gone Baby Gone, this new drama is also set in a tough, working class Boston neighborhood. Affleck stars in the film along with Jeremy Renner, Jon Hamm and Rebecca Hall. Here's a look at The Town.



"There are over 300 bank robberies in Boston every year. Most of these professionals live in a one square mile neighborhood called Charlestown."


The Charlestown section of Boston is steeped in Early American history. Its landmarks include the monument to the Revolutionary War Battle of Bunker Hill. Paul Revere began his famous "midnight ride" on its the cobblestone streets. But the recent history of The Town is more about midnight raids against organized crime and a rash of armed robberies.

Doug, the leader of a notorious bank crew, starts getting second thoughts when their latest job runs into a snag and they take the bank manager hostage. Claire is her name and they release her unharmed, but under the guise of making sure their identities are safe, Doug finds and gets to know Claire.

He isn't supposed to fall in love with her, but he does and decides it is time to quit his life of crime. That is not what his buddies want to hear and they force him to pull one last heist.

(L-r) JEREMY RENNER as Jem Coughlin and BEN AFFLECK as Doug MacRay in Warner Bros. Pictures’ and Legendary Pictures’ crime drama “The Town,” distributed by Warner Bros. Pictures.
(L-r) JEREMY RENNER as Jem Coughlin and BEN AFFLECK as Doug MacRay in Warner Bros. Pictures’ and Legendary Pictures’ crime drama “The Town,” distributed by Warner Bros. Pictures.

Ben Affleck stars as Doug and also directed the film. He says he found the dual role daunting.

"It was really challenging to do both," admits Affleck. "I'm still new to directing and I need a lot of time to focus on my directing. Acting takes time away from that. It was a hard thing. I hoped I would be up to it."

"You and your boys didn't just roll a Star Market over in Milton for a box of quarters. No, you decided to bang it out in the north end at nine o'clock in the morning with assault rifles. You dummies shot a guard. Now you're like a half-off sale at "Big and Tall." Every cop is in line."

Jon Hamm, star of the hit TV series Mad Men, plays the FBI agent determined to track down and stop Doug's gang. Although the crime investigation bureau did not officially support the film, Hamm says agents and officers on their own time did help him get his portrayal right:

JON HAMM as FBI Special Agent Adam Frawley in Warner Bros. Pictures’ and Legendary Pictures’ crime drama “The Town,” distributed by Warner Bros. Pictures.
JON HAMM as FBI Special Agent Adam Frawley in Warner Bros. Pictures’ and Legendary Pictures’ crime drama “The Town,” distributed by Warner Bros. Pictures.

"Researching the character, it was a tremendous advantage to be able to hang out and talk to several of the law enforcement officials in Boston at the Federal, state and local level," notes Hamm. "They do amazing work. There are a lot of robberies in Boston and a lot of them get solved because of the hard work by these guys. So it was nice to see from the inside how clear their objective is. Their job is to stop bad people from doing bad things. They are very clear on that, so that was very helpful to me."

As audacious as the gang seems to be, their exploits are drawn from real police accounts of robberies in the script adapted from the novel Prince of Thieves by Chuck Hogan.

(L-r) BEN AFFLECK as Doug MacRay and JEREMY RENNER as Jem Coughlin in Warner Bros. Pictures’ and Legendary Pictures’ crime drama “The Town,” distributed by Warner Bros. Pictures.
(L-r) BEN AFFLECK as Doug MacRay and JEREMY RENNER as Jem Coughlin in Warner Bros. Pictures’ and Legendary Pictures’ crime drama “The Town,” distributed by Warner Bros. Pictures.

"There was an article in the local paper, the Boston Globe, that said that the FBI said there are more armored car robberies coming from Charlestown than from anywhere else," explains Hogan. "Living in the [Boston] area I was kind of aware of that reputation for robbery, but to see it spelled out like that really tripped something in me. That was really the starting point back in 1995 when I started to think about it."

Even so, star and director Affleck says The Town taps into a long tradition of films about cops and robbers.

"The fact that there are a lot of movies in this genre points to the fact that it is very tricky to do," Affleck says. "You don't change the genre. You can retell those things over and over again, so the danger is the audience is going to feel it's a little predictable; but those movies stand as reminders that even with following the same genre conventions you can do something special, so that's what we were trying to do."

"I'll see you again …this side or the other."


REBECCA HALL as Claire Keesey in Warner Bros. Pictures’ and Legendary Pictures’ crime drama “The Town,” distributed by Warner Bros. Pictures.
REBECCA HALL as Claire Keesey in Warner Bros. Pictures’ and Legendary Pictures’ crime drama “The Town,” distributed by Warner Bros. Pictures.

The Town also features Rebecca Hall as Claire, the woman who gives bank robber Doug a reason to go straight. Jeremy Renner co-stars as Doug's best friend and partner-in-crime Jem. Blake Lively is Jem's sister who also is in love with Doug; and Chris Cooper is Doug's estranged father serving a long prison sentence for just the sort of crimes his son now commits. The cast and filmmakers spoke about The Town when it premiered in September at the Toronto International Film Festival.

You May Like

Analysts Warn of Regional Proxy Conflict in Afghanistan

Analysts warn if Kabul’s neighbors do not start to cooperate, competing desires for influence could deteriorate into a bloody proxy war in the country More

Saudi Intelligence Chief Resigns

Bandar bin Sultan came under criticism for supporting al Qaida, prompting King Abdallah to wrest Syria operations away from him in February, handing them to Interior Minister Prince Mohammed bin Nayef More

Poetry Magazine editor Don Share talks what makes a good poem with VOA's David Byrd

What makes a good poem? And is poetry as viable an art form as it once was? To find out, VOA's David Byrd spoke to Don Share, the editor of Poetry Magazine. More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Google Buys Drone Companyi
|| 0:00:00
...
 
🔇
X
George Putic
April 15, 2014
In its latest purchase of high-tech companies, Google has acquired a manufacturer of solar-powered drones that can stay in the air almost indefinitely, relaying broadband Internet connection to remote areas. It is seen as yet another step in the U.S. based Web giant’s bid to bring Internet to the whole world. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Google Buys Drone Company

In its latest purchase of high-tech companies, Google has acquired a manufacturer of solar-powered drones that can stay in the air almost indefinitely, relaying broadband Internet connection to remote areas. It is seen as yet another step in the U.S. based Web giant’s bid to bring Internet to the whole world. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Ray Bonneville Sings the Blues and More on New CD

Singer/songwriter Ray Bonneville has released a new CD called “Easy Gone” with music that reflects his musical and personal journey from French-speaking Canada to his current home in Austin,Texas. The eclectic artist’s fan base extends from Texas to various parts of North America and Europe. VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Austin.
Video

Video Millions Labor in Pakistan's Informal Economy

The World Bank says that in Pakistan, roughly 70 percent work in the so-called informal sector, a part of the economy that is unregulated and untaxed. VOA's Sharon Behn reports from Islamabad on how the informal sector impact's the Pakistani economy.
Video

Video Passover Celebrates Liberation from Bondage

Jewish people around the world are celebrating Passover, a commemoration of their liberation from slavery in Egypt more than 3,300 years ago. According to scripture, God helped the Jews, led by Moses, escape bondage in Egypt and cross the Red Sea into the desert. Zlatica Hoke reports that the story of the Jewish Exodus resonates with other people trying to escape slave-like conditions.
Video

Video Police Pursue Hate Crime Charges Against Kansas Shooting Suspect

Prosecutors are sifting through the evidence in the wake of Sunday’s shootings in a suburb of Kansas City, Missouri that left three people dead. A suspect in the shootings taken into custody is a white supremacist. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, he was well-known to law enforcement agencies and human rights groups alike.
Video

Video In Eastern Ukraine, Pro-unity Activists Emerge from Shadows

Amid the pro-Russian uprisings in eastern Ukraine, there is a large body of activists who support Ukrainian unity and reject Russian intervention. Their activities have remained largely underground, but they are preparing to take on their pro-Moscow opponents, as Henry Ridgwell reports from the eastern city of Donetsk.
Video

Video Basket Maker’s Skills Have World Reach

A prestigious craft show in the U.S. capital offers one-of-a-kind creations by more than 120 artists working in a variety of media. As VOA’s Julie Taboh reports from Washington, one artist lucky enough to be selected says sharing her skills with women overseas is just as significant.
Video

Video UN Report Urges Speedier Action to Avoid Climate Disaster

A new United Nations report says the world must switch from fossil fuels to cleaner energy sources to control the effects of climate change. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change released the report (Sunday) following a meeting of scientists and government representatives in Berlin. The comprehensive review follows two recent IPCC reports that detail the certainty of climate change, its impacts and in this most recent report what to do about it. VOA’s Rosanne Skirble has the details.
AppleAndroid

New in Music Alley

Border Crossings

With over five million records sold worldwide, singer-songwriter MIKA is best known for his hit single “Grace Kelly.” MIKA joins "Border Crossings" to perform live and to talk with host Larry London about his latest CD “The Origin Of Love.”