For those of you who are still unconvinced of Ben Affleck’s directorial talent, this might do the job. “The Town” is a follow-up to the excellent “Gone, Baby Gone”. Affleck’s favoured genre is the crime drama, and it fits his earthy Boston sensibilities like a glove. This time he is in front of the camera as well, playing a bank robber who gets involved with one of his heist victims (Rebecca Hall). Affleck has assembled quite a solid cast, with Jon Hamm of “Mad Men” fame, veteran character actors Pete Postlethwaite and Chris Cooper, the ever-reliable Jeremy Renner, and (if only for eye candy) the smoking hot Blake Lively. This could be an Oscar contender if the script proves just as solid.
This movie is the very definition of ‘high-concept’: a real-time thriller where the entire running time is spent with the main character locked in a coffin deep underground, as he frantically tries to escape with only a mobile phone and a torchlight at his disposal. Definitely not recommended for claustrophobics. Or Ryan Reynolds haters. However, the movie has been getting very positive notices at independent film festivals like Sundance. It’ll be interesting to see how they can sustain the dramatic tension without the benefit of subplots, cutaways to other scenes, or without even face-to-face dialogue. If nothing else, this will be an admirable experiment in audience immersion.
… to be continued
LB: Storyteller by trade and dreamer by nature, Wai has been deeply nuts about the celluloid world since the first time he discovered he could watch a story instead of reading it. But he likes writing about it. Wai goes by a single name because he likes to avoid any “Imperial entanglements” (a.k.a. “conflict of interest with the powers that be” for those of you who don’t speak Star Wars) in his employment. Plus, cool people use one-word names.