Monday, October 25, 2010

The Town

The Town, a film directed by and starring Ben Affleck, tells the story of four bank robbers who live in the Charlestown neighborhood of Boston, and the relationship that almost turns one of them around.

The film opens with the claim that Charlestown is home for an inordinate number of crimes and armed robberies. Sure enough, Doug MacRay (Affleck) and his buddies are experts at robbing banks and armored cars. They work for a powerful drug lord whose day job is running a flower shop. Apparently what holds Charlestown together is a Mafia-esque loyalty to family... regardless of how much pain and heartache such loyalty causes.

An interesting romantic plot weaves in and out among the elaborate holdups. There are some cool chase scenes and lots of bullets flying everywhere. I liked the movie a lot, even if the story was fairly predictable. The acting is really good, and the relationship between Doug and Claire draws you in. I felt the movie stopped way too short of dealing with the angst between Doug and his father. A brief visit in the prison where his father is serving time is the only glimpse you get into Doug's father wounds.

The movie's sub-plot is that everyone has a hungry heart. Doug is looking to break free of Charlestown's violent grip, and desperately wants the love of a woman of virtue. Doug's quasi-girlfriend Krista turns to drugs and sex for significance. Doug's best friend James's idol is power. Claire is no less empty, but her idol (humanitarian good will) looks a lot more respectable. No one seeks the glory of their Creator or a relationship with the One who proved his love on the cross.

The main character of the movie is, of course, the Town. People who grow up there are called Townies. The Town owns and controls its people until they get desperate enough to break free. And if they're not careful, even then the Town has a mysterious power to woo people back in. The Town is therefore equivalent to Bunyan's City of Destruction in Pilgrim's Progress. The gospel frees us from our captivity to sin and invites us into a new life with a new Love - a Love that won't let us go but liberates us to find our true selves.

(Be aware that The Town is rated R for strong violence, pervasive language, some sexuality and drug use.)

1 comment:

kristinwithani said...

Mike, I always love reading your film posts. I've wanted to see this movie simply because I grew up on Boston. Your review makes me want to see it for so much more.