It’s Ben Affleck’s second major turn at directing, and from these clips, “The Town” proves Affleck has the chops to helm a movie. In the film (which he also cowrote and adapted from the Chuck Hogan novel “Prince of Thieves”), Affleck plays Doug, a thief from Boston who is the leader of a gang of bank robbers. However, Doug is ready to give up his criminal ways, despite the disapproval of his fellow robber James “Jem” (“The Hurt Locker”‘s Jeremy Renner). Doug ends up taking a woman named Claire (played by Rebecca Hall) hostage during a robbery, and after he lets her go unharmed, he can’t stop thinking about her.
In the clip “A Few Days Ago,” Claire tells her suitor Doug that her bank was robbed and she was taken hostage. Unbeknown to her, she is speaking to the very man who took her hostage. She tells Doug she’s been working with the FBI, something he questions her about. Claire says the men were wearing masks, but “I’m sure I’d recognize their voices.” Maybe not, Claire!
James starts to get more than a little weary of Claire and Doug’s relationship in “Under Control,” but Doug assures him that everything’s OK. In “Don’t Look for Her,” Doug goes to visit his father (Chris Cooper), a former criminal, in jail. Doug tells his dad he is thinking about getting “out of the business.” Doug also wonders why his dad never really looked for his mom after she left him. Dad says, “I didn’t look for her because there was nothing to find.”
Viewers get a peak of Jon Hamm (“Mad Men”) as FBI Special Agent Frawley in “Get the Plunger.” Frawley gets distracted when he hears a gunfight in process — one started by Doug and James. In the next clip, “Holding Court,” Doug suggests to James that he should also retire. “What am I gonna do, Dougie? Go down to Margaritaville?” James asks. He also mentions that the funniest thing about being in prison are the guys who say they actually want to get out.
Blake Lively of “Gossip Girl” plays a whole new kind of character in “The Town.” Her drug dealer character Krista is featured in the clip “How Do You Know Doug?” Krista is at a bar with Frawley, who is trying to get information out of her about Doug, while also giving her lots of useless facts about the length and weight of money.
In “Never Asked You To,” Doug and James are sitting outside of a cemetery. James said that because of Doug, he killed someone and then did 9 years in jail. Doug said he’s grateful for everything James has done for him, including taking him in when his dad went away to jail. They’re like brothers, but that doesn’t matter — Doug is still leaving. “Shoot me? Go ahead. But you’ll have to shoot me in the back,” Doug says.
Doug assures his gang of robbers that Claire is oblivious to what’s going on in “She Didn’t See Anything.” James wants to scare her, but Doug says he can handle it. In “Shot a Guard,” Frawley questions Doug about his criminal past. He says Doug shot a guard, and “now you’re like a half off sale at Big & Tall — every cop is in line.” Frawley tells Doug that if it would be up to him, Doug would be executed, but he can at least personally tell him that he and his friends are going to die in federal prison. “No deal. No compromise.”
The last clip, “Want to Go With Her,” shows Krista telling Doug she’ll do anything to be with him and wants to go with him wherever he goes. But Doug tells her he already has someone he’s leaving with — Claire.
Even though the clips are obviously from various random parts of the movie, it’s obvious that “The Town” shows a compelling story with interesting characters, played by fine actors. Hey, even the Boston accents aren’t that bad!
You’ll want to check out this town when it comes to theaters on Sept. 17.
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Follow Amanda Koehler on Twitter at http://twitter.com/AEKoehler.