Cover Art and Menus: 4/10
This cover has elements that I do like, the weird masked nun people with guns to be exact. The rest is just marketing bullshit so it pretty much brings it down. I would not have this as a poster. If they cropped it to just the weird nun face I might consider it. As for the menu, it’s like revealing layers of a cake, one layer pops up, then another on top of the, and another, it works, but we all need to move toward a menu that remembers where you were. If we were exploring extras and then come back to the menu, it should take us back to that portion of the choices. Just a thought big Blu-Ray designers!!
- Extended & Theatrical Cut – The extended version is awesome, so I don’t think I would honestly want to go back and watch the theatrical offering. I mean, if they take out anything it just isn’t the same. My suggestion, if you are investing in watching them both, watch the theatrical first and don’t end up like me, spoiled by the goodness of the extended choice.
- Ben’s Boston – As with Gone Baby Gone, Boston is a feature in this story. Our director/star grew up in this city and I think he’s got a lot to say about the culture and community of it. I would like to see him explore even more facets of his hometown….maybe someday:)
- Commentary On Both Versions Of The Movie – Ben talks. I like to listen to Mr. Affleck. He’s funny and he takes it all pretty seriously. I don’t know him in real life, but as a director, actor, and commentator he’s alright with me. It’s worth the time to watch the movie again to hear about his experiences making The Town.
- Digital Copy & DVD – Yes, we know. It’s not a feature any more. This should just be standard, not a bell or whistle.
The Movie: 10/10
Where do I begin? This movie is awesome. Yes, awesome. I was engaged from the very first moment with the introduction and an explanation about how many bank robbers come from this one neighborhood in Boston. It’s not glossed up or fancy, just white words on a black screen telling me something I didn’t know. Now, I might doubt things in movies, because, well, they are movies, but sometimes I’m just hooked, convinced, sold, and this is one of those times. So, enough about the first 20 seconds, what about the rest of the movie?
Awesome. OK, I won’t use that word again, just remember it’s haunting every sentence. Let me start with the story. A neighborhood in Boston has produced the most bank and armored car robbers in the world and this is a close up of one group of friends who have chosen this particular lifestyle. The ‘leader’ of the group, Affleck, hints at wanting out, but his best friend has crossed over into a way of life from which there is no coming back from. Murder, violence, money, drugs, it’s all here of course. The friend, played by Renner, is intense. He’s done things that have propelled him into a very angry place in his mind and when the shit hits the fan he seems like the kind of guy who will just go down in a blaze of glory.
The dynamics aren’t completely original, I can’t pretend that it’s revolutionary in that department. This story comes from a novel so there are sets of characters that do tend toward the stereotypical. The guy who wants out, the guy who’s ruined for life, the guy who’s just in it for the money, the determined law enforcers, the innocent female deceived, the tough nut bad mother-stuffers who everyone is afraid of, the criminal imprisoned father, the mother who has abandoned the family…you get the idea. What takes all of these out of being little pigeon holed personalities and into such compelling interesting characters is the dialog and the performances. I mean, come on, every single person from Affleck to his FBI counterparts are aweso…..um, 🙂 I mean they are all amazing. I can’t even go into each performance because I would have to talk about them all and there are quite a few, so just trust me when I say that every scene, every line, it’s all quality stuff. If any of the cast is reading this, just put your name in this sentence: __________ is incredibly believable, unflinching in her/his commitment to their character, and is a huge part of why I gave The Town 10 out of 10.
There is a love interest, in fact two, how could there not be. If there were to be any nitpicking I would do with this story it’s how our leading man and leading woman come to know each other. It’s got that “hmmm that’s a bit of a stretch” vibe, but I don’t care. I buy it because, again, the performances and the content of their conversations, the way it’s written, it has the intangible thing that makes me drop jawed and eyes glued to the screen every second. Like I said, there are two love stories, of sorts, maybe not LOVE but relationships that are pivotal to the choices that the characters make. Both women who play their parts with Affleck are friggin’ (looking at Thesaurus.com for word other than awesome) impressive, moving, excellent, etc. I want to use exalted, it’s listed as a synonym of awesome, but I can’t quite figure out how to use it in a sentence in reference to these performances, but just know it means something is elevated, lofty, kind of above the rest and that’s what I want to say about these women in The Town. They hold their own in this world of manly criminal horrible men.
Aside from the great acting and writing we have the action sequences. These are some of the best fight scenes, car chases, and up close and personal confrontations I have seen in a movie in a very very long time if ever. The visceral, ‘in-the-action’ style of directing is down to our leading man as well. Afleck seems to have a good grasp of how to get us in the action and still not make it too shiny and Hollywoodish.
My head is swimming with movie discussion about The Town, but it’s all stuff you have to discuss after you see it, so I can’t spill it out here. What I will say is that the quality of this movie does that thing to me, it reminds me of why I love movies in the first place. It’s got people I care about, people I hate, action that draws me in, it’s long, it’s got a sense of grit mixed with good dramatic storytelling, and it’s AWESOME!!!!! Whew, had to get that one out before I burst.
Audio & Video: 8/10
The extended cut of The Town clocks in at two hours and thirty minutes, while the theatrical version is thirty minutes shorter. Warner did something a little strange here, instead of using seamless branching to mix and match the scenes, they present a full encode of each movie on one BD-50 disc. While this sounds like it would be a disaster, The Town actually looks very good in 1080P. Blacks are inky (some black crush does rear it’s head on occassion) and most of the shots are crisp and clear. There are a few soft shots but speaking to a friend who saw this theatrically it was the same on the big screen.
Audio is presented in a 24bit mix for the theatrical cut and a 16 bit mix for the extended cut. Again strange but both mixes are exceptional. If you ever wanted to know what it sounds like when a stun grenade goes off, this film has you covered.
Overall The Town is an exceptional movie that due to some odd choices by the disc authors doesn’t get the AAA treatment on Blu-Ray. Perhaps a special edition in the future will rectify this but for now make sure you see this movie it is one of 2010’s best.
For around $18 you can get this movie and I say GO FOR IT. I want this movie around to watch again sometime. It’s a good one to show off to anyone who likes action and drama. I am not a collector. However, we have followed Ben Affleck from Mall Rats through Chasing Amy, Armageddon through Jersey Girl, Gone Baby Gone and now The Town. That’s what I would call devoted fans. Admittedly there might have been a few falls from grace now and then, but it’s all part of the package when you are a true movie lover. So, if you like Afleck, or drama, or action, or just really really really good movies, this one is a great bargain and addition to your collection.
Overall Score 10/10