First Hit: Very well scripted, directed and acted. This is a very good film.
Ben Affleck did all three things, wrote, directed and acted in this dramatic film about Doug MacRay (Affleck) who has lived his entire life in Charlestown MA.
The opening credits indicate this town breeds a higher percentage of bank robbers than found anywhere else. Regardless, this isn’t really germane to the story. Doug and his buddies James Coughlin (played by Jeremy Renner), Albert “Gloansy” Magloan (played by Slaine) and Desmond Elden (played by Owen Burke) are expert bank robbers and in one of their heists grab a woman bank manager during their escape.
The woman Claire Keesey (played by Rebecca Hall) also helps in the community by tending a community garden and also works with disadvantaged children. The robbers let her go unharmed and have little worry about her recognizing them because they wore masks and covered most all their identifying marks.
Doug follows her and begins to engage with her by introducing himself in a laundromat. As he learns about her and her truthful kindness he begins falling for her. However, he is also looking for signs that she is cooperating with the FBI who are trying to solve the robbery case. As they date she tells him of the horrible experience she had during the robbery, including how they beat one of her co-workers up.
When James finds out that Doug is spending time with Claire he gets angry but he really explodes when Doug says he wants out of their robbery gang. However, in the end, Doug chooses to do one last job which creates additional problems with the cops and with Claire.
The feeling of this entire film has a sense of honesty of characters you don’t always find in a film. The camaraderie of the Doug and James is explored. The feeling of the neighborhood is sharpened as other characters shape and guide the film. It just felt like a very good film.
Affleck knows how to direct himself and not only shoots himself in a flattering way but also unflatteringly. He has grown as an actor and has really shown he knows how to work behind the camera as well. He kept tight reins on this story and the character and let them loose at the right times. Renner, as he did in “The Hurt Locker” gives an intense, no-nonsense, performance. He is truly open and believable. Hall is strong in her role showing both strength and vulnerability in equal measures.
Overall: Very entertaining and well thought out drama.