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

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

Turkey's Erdogan: Women Not Equal to Men

Speaking at conference in Istanbul, President Erdogan says Islam has defined a position for women: motherhood More

Ahead of SAARC Summit, Subdued Expectations

Some regional analysts say distrust between Pakistani, Indian officials has slowed SAARC's progress over the year More

Philippines Leery of Development on Reef Reclamation in S. China Sea

Chinese land reclamation projects in area have been ongoing for years, but new satellite imagery reportedly shows China’s massive construction project 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.
Aung San Suu Kyi: Myanmar Opposition to Keep Pushing for Constitutional Changei
X
November 24, 2014 10:09 PM
Myanmar opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi says she and her supporters will continue pushing to amend a constitutional clause that bars her from running for president next year. VOA's Than Lwin Htun reports from the capital Naypyitaw in this report narrated by Colin Lovett.
Video

Video Aung San Suu Kyi: Myanmar Opposition to Keep Pushing for Constitutional Change

Myanmar opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi says she and her supporters will continue pushing to amend a constitutional clause that bars her from running for president next year. VOA's Than Lwin Htun reports from the capital Naypyitaw in this report narrated by Colin Lovett.
Video

Video Mali Attempts to Shut Down Ebola Transmission Chain

Senegal and Nigeria were able to stop small Ebola outbreaks by closely monitoring those who had contact with the sick person and quickly isolating anyone with symptoms. Mali is now scrambling to do the same. VOA’s Anne Look reports from Mali on what the country is doing to shut down the chain of transmission.
Video

Video Ukraine Marks Anniversary of Deadly 1930s Famine

During a commemoration for millions who died of starvation in Ukraine in the early 1930s, President Petro Poroshenko lashed out at Soviet-era totalitarianism for causing the deaths and accused today’s Russian-backed rebels in the east of using similar tactics. VOA’s Daniel Shearf reports from Kyiv.
Video

Video Hong Kong Protests at a Crossroads

New public opinion polls in Hong Kong indicate declining support for pro-democracy demonstrations after weeks of street protests. VOA’s Bill Ide in Guangzhou and Pros Laput in Hong Kong spoke with protesters and observers about whether demonstrators have been too aggressive in pushing for change.
Video

Video US Immigration Relief Imminent for Mixed-Status Families

Tens of thousands of undocumented immigrants in the Washington, D.C., area may benefit from a controversial presidential order announced this week. It's not a path to citizenship, as some activists hoped. But it will allow more immigrants who arrived as children or who have citizen children, to avoid deportation and work legally. VOA's Victoria Macchi talks with one young man who benefited from an earlier presidential order, and whose parents may now benefit after years of living in fear.
Video

Video New Skateboard Defies Gravity

A futuristic dream only a couple of decades ago, the hoverboard – a skateboard that floats above the ground - has finally been made possible. While still not ready for mass production, it promises to become a cool mode of transport... at least over some surfaces. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Falling Gas Prices Impact US Oil Extraction

With the price of oil now less than $80 a barrel, motorists throughout the United States are benefiting from gas prices below $3 a gallon. But as VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, the decreasing price of petroleum has a downside for the hydraulic fracturing industry in the United States.
Video

Video Tensions Build on Korean Peninsula Amid Military Drills

It has been another tense week on the Korean peninsula as Pyongyang threatened to again test nuclear weapons while the U.S. and South Korean forces held joint military exercises in a show of force. VOA’s Brian Padden reports from the Kunsan Air Base in South Korea.
Video

Video Mama Sarah Obama Honored at UN Women’s Entrepreneurship Day

President Barack Obama's step-grandmother is in the United States to raise money to build a $12 million school and hospital center in Kogelo, Kenya, the birthplace of the president's father, Barack Obama, Sr. She was honored for her decades of work to aid poor Kenyans at a Women's Entrepreneurship Day at the United Nations.
Video

Video Ebola Economic Toll Stirs W. Africa Food Security Concerns

The World Bank said Wednesday that it expects the economic impact of the Ebola outbreak on the sub-Saharan economy to cost somewhere betweenf $3 billion to $4 billion - well below a previously-outlined worst-case scenario of $32 billion. Some economists, however, paint a gloomier picture - warning that the disruption to regional markets and trading is considerable. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Chaos, Abuse Defy Solution in Libya

The political and security crisis in Libya is deepening, with competing governments and, according to Amnesty International, widespread human rights violations committed with impunity. VOA’s Al Pessin reports from London.
Video

Video US Hosts Record 866,000 Foreign Students

Close to 900,000 international students are studying at American universities and colleges, more than ever before. About half of them come from Asia, mostly China. The United States hosts more foreign students than any other country in the world, and its foreign student population is steadily growing. Zlatica Hoke reports.

All About America

AppleAndroid

New in Music Alley

Soul Lounge

Avery Sunshine is known for her irresistible combination of soul, jazz and gospel influences. She’s traveled the world entertaining audiences with her powerful voice, inspiring lyrics and infectious spirit. She joins host Shawna Renee on "The Soul Lounge" to perform and share the stories behind her new album, "The Sun Room."