I guess we can’t be making fun of big Ben anymore.
Career bank robber Doug (Ben Affleck) and his volatile partner, Jim (Jeremy Renner), hit a roadblock when Doug falls for bank manager Claire (Rebecca Hall), whom he kidnapped during their last heist. Worse, an FBI agent (Jon Hamm) is now trailing the thieves around their Charlestown, Mass., territory.
Ben Affleck has always been a guy in film, that stars in some pretty good movies, and then stars in some completely shit movies. But now that he has started directing, writing, and starring in his own material, it raises a lot of questions as to whether, he can actually do it all, and do it all well.
This is Ben’s second time behind the camera, and he shows that the first time, Gone Baby Gone, was no fluke. He is very good at creating suspense, and directing the hell out of action sequences. The heist scenes are some of the best I have seen in awhile, cause he keeps the camera on all the action that’s going on in this one particular event, and doesn’t go all over the place, like what most action directors in today’s world do.
This film is also a romance story, and it actually works considering it’s stuck with this heavy-action genre. Ben knows how to balance out the film with real emotional, and overall touching scenes, but knows how to put the energy one when it comes to his action scenes, and well, it doesn’t feel forced, and works well with the story at hand. The screenplay works well here too because it brings out a lot strong central themes, in the midst of all the havoc. These people are trapped in their own, little world of crime, violence, and hopelessness.
My one complaint about this film is that it is kind of formulaic, because it’s a lot of a bigger budget, and you can already tell what’s going to happen. Don’t get me wrong, there were plenty of moments where I was on the edge of my seat, much thanks to Ben, but then there were also other parts, where I knew what was going to happen, mainly because I have seen plenty of heist films, and usually they are always the same thing.
I liked how the characters were all so realistic, and basically three-dimensional, so you actually did care for these people. Ben Affleck comes together as an actor with this film, as he gives off a lot of emotional scenes, because his character is stuck between his friends, and his girlfriend, which creates a lot of stress for his character, and you can tell by his performance. Jeremy Renner is perfectly cast here as the bad-ass, gun-slinging, punk. But he plays it so well here, he doesn’t over-act it, and when he’s on screen, you just feel uneasy, because you never know what he’s going to do next. I hope by awards time, I see him again on that ballot. Rebecca Hall is a very sweet character, that we do like when we first meet here, and through plenty of poignant scenes with her and Affleck, we care for her, and their relationship. Jon Hamm does well here, playing the main cop, that does whatever he can to catch these guys, and I don’t know if Affleck meant for us to dislike him or not, but I sort of did, but that’s not really a bad thing, it made his character more watchable. Blake Lively is also in this playing a trashy, disgusting looking whore, and does a pretty good job at it too, and I actually may start to take her more seriously as an actress now. Chris Cooper is only in one scene, but he does such a good job, and it reminds me as to why he did win that Oscar so long ago. Pete Postlethwaite has good scenes here, showing his character in a lot more menacing way than I was actually expecting. Very good ensemble, that all know how to act out their own respective characters.
Consensus: Directed with plenty of suspense, and thrills, to keep you on the edge of your seat, and excited, as well as provide a great character story, that has even better actors attached.