"The Town," directed by and starring Ben Affleck, kept me entertained throughout. It's about four expert stick-up artists from Charlestown, one of whom (Affleck's character) wants to put an end to his criminal ways in search of a better life. But of course, a loose-cannon sidekick and an Irish mob boss manage to throw some wrenches into those plans. (And by "wrenches," I mean "guns.")
The movie is constantly exciting, with several heart-pounding moments. The minivan chase scene through the North End's narrow streets was thrilling, as was the part where -- CONVOLUTED SUBPLOT ALERT! -- a robbery victim whom Affleck's character has fallen for almost notices the tattoo on the loose-cannon sidekick's neck that would have identified him as the robber. And the final showdown at Fenway Park was pretty epic.
That said, there are a lot of things about "The Town" that will probably bother me the next time I watch it:
- The characters were woefully one-dimensional, with the exception of Affleck's. (And even then, notice how I keep calling him "Affleck's character"? That's because I don't remember his name. I think it might have been Doug.*) And near the end, when one of the other stick-up artists spoke, I literally said, "whoa!" because I think that was his first line in the whole film.
- The entire existence of some characters seems contrived. For example, early on we meet the loose-cannon sidekick's sister, whose sole purpose is apparently to dress like a strung-out Cyndi Lauper and have meaningless sex with Affleck's character. Then we don't see her for a very long time, until the end, when she shows up and attempts to foil the crew's final heist.
- The editing was pretty bad. I never notice these things, but there were several from-behind shots where you could tell the actor wasn't talking and the voice was dubbed in (or vice versa).
- Titus Welliver is in the movie, and he didn't turn into a smoke monster. Not even once.
* I was right!
** I was wrong.