Preview review: Ben Affleck goes to town

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After years of turning in solid performances as an actor, Ben Affleck tried his hand at directing with 2007’s “Gone Baby Gone.” His debut was relatively well-received, but his latest behind-the-camera effort, September’s crime drama “The Town,” looks even more promising.

Based on Chuck Hogan’s novel “Prince of Thieves,” the movie tells the story of Claire, a bank manager (Rebecca Hall) who is taken hostage during a robbery. As she tries to recover from the trauma, she’s comforted by Doug (Affleck), who it turns out was one of her kidnappers. Meanwhile, Doug’s buddy (Jeremy Renner) is worried that his new love interest might figure out Doug’s true identity, while an ex-girlfriend (Blake Lively) continues to vie for his affections.

The trailer has an ominous tone, opening with creepy footage from Claire’s abduction, before explaining that captors come from the gritty streets of Charlestown, Mass. Boston-native Affleck is clearly comfortable on his home turf, and it shows here. And despite the shooting and violence, awards darlings Hall and Renner ground the film emotionally.

Even Lively, known for her wispy portrayal of a blond socialite on “Gossip Girl,” seems to be veering into more serious territory. Better yet, her Boston accent isn’t horrible.


--Amy Kaufman

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