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Thursday 17 January 2019

This bank heist yarn has got the works

Amid all the rumpus over Ricky Gervais at the Golden Globes, the biggest surprise was the lack of awards talk about Ben Affleck's latest effort as actor/director.

The Town, a SpudFellas mob Irish movie in the vein of The Departed, is a gritty thriller, opening with the message that the Boston suburb of Charlestown is a prolific breeding ground for bankrobbers.

Cut to a bank heist involving four Irish-Americans: Albert 'Gloansy' Magloan (Slaine), Desmond Elden (Owen Burke), James Coughlin (Jeremy Renner) and Doug MacRay (Affleck), who all work for local florist/mobster Fergus 'Fergie' Colm (the late, great Pete Postlethwaite).

On the trail of the highly organised team is amoral FBI agent Adam Frawley (Jon Hamm), who'll bend all the rules to get his men.

And his chance may yet come after the gang take young bank manager Claire Keesey (Rebecca Hall) hostage. With MacRay paying a visit to see if Keesey, who lives locally, knows who planned the heist, Frawley eventually uses her to try and take down the gang.

MacRay, meanwhile, a former hockey prospect who turned bad, shows his more human side as he falls for Keesey and realises there's more to life than bank hold-ups.

Desperate to start afresh and escape the Boston ghetto, he is pushed to do one more heist, and you can guarantee that it won't end well.

What a cracking ride of a movie -- the shootout and chase scenes are brilliant and Affleck shines both in front of, and behind, the camera.

It's realistic by Hollywood standards, with real-life local characters being used in the film (some even as cops and Feds) and it's a great new entry in the Irish-American bad-boy genre.

Recommended.

DVD extras: Includes the original and extended cuts of the film, both with commentary from Affleck. The behind-the-scenes documentary, though short, is a good insight into a bad neighbourhood.

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