The Review at a Glance: (max score: 5 )
Audio/Video total rating:
( Max score: 100 )
Studio and Year: Warner - 2010
MPAA Rating: R
Feature running time: 125/153 minutes
Disc Format: BD-50
Encoding: AVC (MPEG-4)
Video Aspect: 2.40:1
Audio Format(s): English DTS-HD 5.1 Master Audio, English/French, Spanish Dolby Digital 5.1
Subtitles: English SDH, French, Spanish
Starring: Ben Affleck, Jeremy Renner, Rebecca Hall, Jon Hamm, Black Lively, Titus Welliver, Pete Postlethwaite, Chris Cooper
Directed by: Ben Affleck
Music by: Harry Gregson-Williams & Greg Buckley
Written by: Peter Craig, Ben Affleck, Aaron Stockard
Region Code: A,B,C
Blu-ray Disc release Date: December 14, 2010
"Welcome to the bank robbery capital of the world"
Ben Affleck follows his acclaimed Gone Baby Gone directorial debut by directing, co-writing and starring in a taut thriller about robbers and cops, friendship and betrayal, love and hope and escaping a past that has no future. He plays Doug MacRay, leader of a Boston bank robber gang but not cut from the same cloth as his fellow thieves. When Doug falls into a passionate romance with the bank manager (Rebecca Hall) briefly taken hostage in their last heist, he wants out of this life and out of the town. As the Feds close in and the crew questions his loyalty, he has one of two choices: betray his friends or lose the woman he loves.
I think that as an actor Ben Affleck gets kind of a raw deal in that many don't find him to be credible especially among the peers he broke in with. I don't have a problem with him as an actor and generally enjoy his films. Whether you like him as an actor or not there is no denying that he has shown that he can direct. Gone baby gone and now The Town are perfect examples of my point. With The Town he takes it a step farther and acts as well as directs. I went to see The Town while it was in theaters. I found it to be engrossing as its well crafted script harkened back to old school heist films while engaging us with strong characters, interpersonal drama, and palpable action that doesn't overrun the story. The premise is fairly simple. A group of career criminals from Boston's Charlestown pull off a series of robberies beginning with a bank. During the bank job they take the female bank manager hostage until they are safely away. Later they decide to keep tabs on her to ensure that she doesn't know anything that could lead the FBI to them. One of the robbers, Doug Macray (Affleck), becomes more involved than he should (by meeting then dating her) and subsequently falls for her. She has no idea that he was one of the robbers/kidnappers and their growing relationship becomes the push he needs to finally break away from the crime and associations of the town. Unfortunately things aren't so simple and Doug finds himself caught between his difficult past, new found love, and the pull of the rabble he has aligned himself with who won't just let him walk away. He will have to do one more heist to satisfy them. The stakes are the highest they have ever been while the risk is even greater.
The Town is one part buddy flick, one part romance, one part shoot 'em up, and one part drama. The development of the revolving plot and the integration of the characters are excellent. I appreciated the time put into allowing the audience to see why Doug's past still haunts him and to understand the complex relationship between he and Jim. Jim is the less dimensional of the two but decidedly more fun to watch thanks to a superb performance by the very talented Jeremy Renner. Doug is the central figure upon which the plot rests. He is the troubled kid, the failed athlete, and recovering drug addict who sees the need for temperance. Meeting Claire (Hall) was the turning point that showed Doug's that there is happiness outside of the circle of dysfunctional relationships that have surrounded him his whole life. When he decides to leave he finds out that the life that he thought he owned he doesn't. Doug comes to learn a few valuable lessons along with the painful truth about his past. It is when Claire's life is used as leverage to coerce Doug's participation that those who seemingly underestimate his resolve learn the true meaning in the spoken words of a temperate man.
I think that Ben Affleck nailed this role in portraying Doug as a sympathetic and substantial character that was easy to like and accept. I didn't completely connect with Rebecca Hall initially and wasn't convinced that she was right for the love interest opposite Affleck. Watching it this time I came away with a different impression and thought the pairing worked well. I am not crazy about the neat, tidy and somewhat corny ending but it doesn't negate the films' impact. The Town relies greatly on its characters, which pays dividends thanks to a solid cast that features noteworthy supporting performances from Blake Lively, Pete Postlethwaite, and Jon Hamm. Warner has included both the theatrical version and extended cut which adds 28 minutes to the original runtime. I watched the extended cut which adds several developmental scenes and fleshes out a few interpersonal relationships. I didn't find the extended cut to be better or worse than the theatrical just different. It's nice to have the option to view both so decide for yourself. Either way The Town is a compelling character driven crime thriller that proves very rewarding.
The rating is for strong violence, pervasive language, some sexuality and drug use.
AUDIO/VIDEO - By The Numbers:
REFERENCE = 92-100 / EXCELLENT = 83-91 / GOOD = 74-82 / AVERAGE = 65-73 / BELOW AVERAGE = under 65
**My audio/video ratings are based upon a comparative made against other high definition media/blu-ray disc.**
(Each rating is worth 4 points with a max of 5 per category)
- Low frequency extension:
- Surround Sound presentation:
- Dialogue Reproduction:
(Each rating is worth 4 points with a max of 5 per category)
- Black level/Shadow detail:
- Color reproduction:
The Town comes to Blu-ray Disc from Warner Home video featuring 1080p AVC encoded video that has an average bitrate of 12 Mbps and lossless DTS-HD 5.1 Master Audio sound that has an average bitrate of 2.1 Mbps.
This isn't a bright or overly colorful film. The chromatic palette consists mainly of cooler tones and muted secondary hues with the occasional interjection of primary colors that don't offer much in the way of visual stimulation. This coupled with the prominent display of grain gives it a gritty texture and rougher visual style that works quite well with the film's thematic tone. Resolution is excellent but the nature of the photography isn't always lent to the lucid definition that provides an infinite sense of depth. There are many instances where detail is clearly resolvable with discerning visual perspective and rich clarity. On the other hand there are times where delineation and sharpness is less tangibly defining. Close ups tend to be outstanding and offer plenty of appreciable refinement in the physical features and weave of the fabric in the clothing worn by the cast. The film uses a many low level interior and exterior scenes. The superb cinematography uses a variety of lighting schemes and purposeful shadows. The perception of detail in backgrounds and scenes containing mixed light/dark elements can be scene dependent but this appears directly related to artistic choice and rarely has a deleterious effect. Contrast is stable over the course of the presentation and blacks, while not inky, have sufficient depth so that they don't appear flat or washed out. The lower bitrate associated with this encoding is notable but not surprising considering that both versions of the film are located on a single BD50. I didn't note any overt signs of degradation as a result and thought that this presentation as a whole was excellent.
This is a superlative audio presentation that features wide dynamic range built around a wonderfully balanced surround mix that sounds great. This isn't a consistently involving surround sound mix however it offers an enriching listening experience. Clarity and detail are exemplary which reveal lots of subtle nuance in the recording. The mix of dialogue and music play an integral and central role however there are brief moments of bombast that allow this mix to flex its dynamic muscle. Listen in chapter 12 as the elevated train passes overhead and rumbles through the room. Bass isn't subterranean but it definitively augments the richness and tangibility of gunfire fire as it resonates throughout the sound field with potent authority. The sounds of the open expanse of a crowded public venue, the whizzing of flying bullets or the near field pans of a high speed chase envelop, and revolve around the listening position with stark realism. Dialogue is crystalline with excellent intonation and descriptive character. Harry Gregson-Williams' superbly crafted music sounds smooth, incredibly refined and airy as it augments the story with an immersive and room filling quality that is noticeably involving.
- (HD) Ben's Boston - Focus Points (with play all option):
- Pulling off the perfect heist (3 minutes)
- The Town - (5 minutes)
- Nuns with guns: Filming in the North End (5 minutes)
- The real people of The Town - (3 minutes)
- Ben Affleck: Director & Actor - (7 minutes)
- The cathedral of Boston - (7minutes)
- Audio commentary for Extended Cut
- Audio commentary for Theatrical Cut
- Additional scene indicator (Extended Cut)
- BD-Live enabled
- Bonus DVD/Digital Copy
The Town is a compelling, well crafted, and wonderfully enacted crime thriller that harkens back to old school heist films while engaging us with strong characters, interpersonal drama, and palpable action. Ben Affleck successfully works on both sides of the camera proving that his ability as a filmmaker is a genuine commodity. The Town rolls onto Blu-ray from Warner Home Video featuring excellent high definition video and engaging lossless surround sound that accentuate the film's elements. The supplemental material isn't extensive however both the theatrical and extended cuts of the movie are included with each receiving an interesting/informative audio commentary track featuring director/actor Ben Affleck. If you haven't seen The Town and enjoy a good heist flick this is definitely worth checking out. If you're already a fan, this Blu-ray offering from Warner is a no-brainer and comes highly recommended. Enjoy!
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