Not long ago, I reviewed Chuck Hogan’s excellent crime novel Prince of Thieves and recommended you read it before going to see Ben Affleck’s film adaptation, retitled The Town. Now I’ve seen Ben Affleck’s film adaptation The Town and recommend you read Chuck Hogan’s excellent crime novel first.
Which is not to say I didn’t like the movie. I did. It’s good. A small, tough, beautifully acted little crime film. Ben Affleck gives an excellent star performance as chief good-bad guy Doug MacRay. Jeremy Renner gives a performance as his psycho buddy that’s so good it seems almost supernatural. You hate and fear Renner the minute he comes on screen but at the same time you see him from his own point of view, wholly justified in his murderous craziness. Pretty amazing. And Mad Men‘s Jon Hamm, in a thankless role as a hard-boiled FBI Agent, does his duty well.
My criticisms: Affleck made a choice in cutting back Hamm’s part that makes the entire picture smaller than it needed to be. The action’s not as sensational as in the book – and usually, with movies, it’s the other way around. Plus the female lead, a weak spot in the book, remains a weak spot here.
It’s no Heat, I know, you don’t have to tell me. But it’s sharp and entertaining and worthwhile. I hope it brings Affleck back into style. He’s got a lot to offer.