Another great review by guest Babbler Bear:
Ben Affleck usually doesn’t impress me, but he did here – in acting, writing and directing.
I have to say I didn’t “enjoy” this movie b/c I was tense, uncomfortable and actually felt guilty for most of the movie. It was an oppressive feeling that I couldn’t shake and hoped would end w/ the movie. It lingered a bit, but not too long.
The acting was powerful and intense from everyone and Blake Lively scored big and even her often-unintelligible dialogue said more than other well articulated lines.
Jon Hamm also held his own in the tough guy FBI role. He was committed and pulled it off great. Rebecca Hall and Jeremy Renner were also well cast and were convincing. Chris Cooper always delivers and this was no exception. Pete Postlethwaite also, in limited scenes, contributes to the overall weight of the film’s tension.
Non-Spoiler Alert – nothing that’s not in the description or preview…
The story centers around 4 friends from the Charlestown neighborhood in Boston robbing banks and armored cars. When they take a “hostage” after a bank job and worry, she may lead to trouble, the leader follows her. They wind up in a relationship that causes strife between the friends and complicates everything.
Ben Affleck’s character, Doug MacRay, sincerely wants out, but people and forces around him won’t allow it.
The tension between Doug and the other characters, the FBI, his girlfriend, his friend’s sister, the mob boss, et. al., builds and wraps the viewer in the gritty crime tone that doesn’t let go. I felt at once repelled by the characters and an unmistakable pity for them. Especially Doug – he’s certainly a criminal, but he’s trying to change and certainly has a lot of against him given his environment.
They don’t shy away from complicated story-lines especially where the character relationships matter. I was very much afraid they’d painted themselves into a corner and cdn’t wrap it up satisfactorily, but I think they did a good job. I left satisfied and in those cases where I have that fear (e.g., “LOST”, “X-Files”, “Matrix”), I’m rarely satisfied.
This is one of the better crime drama tension movies I’ve seen in a long time and probably one of the better films this year all around (not that it’s saying much).
SPOILER ALERT (plus soap box alert)
I can’t separate myself from myself so even when I see certain things my beliefs cast some light on my view point. In this case, I had mixed feelings about Doug’s escape and his decisions about the money. I think he left some for Krista, Jim’s Sister, which is just going straight to ruining her life further. Good gesture, but not helping. He gave the rest to Claire which is then used, at least some of it, to help the Boys and Girls Club with ice for the hockey rink. Touching, but sdn’t she have given it back to the rightful owners. Am I going too far here? I mean, it was stolen money – she wasn’t a criminal (just in love w/ one).
And the “Robinhood” argument doesn’t hold up here – I mean, really everyone paid for that rink and whatever else she does w/ that money. You can blame Claire for higher prices at Fenway Park due to their loses and higher insurance, more security, etc. Of course, I’m (mostly) joking. But the point is, in the movie we’re suppose to like how that ended??? Are we suppose to be glad she got everyone’s money and did what she wanted? Thoughts?
I wasn’t too disappointed that he got away. It was nice that he actually left and everyone that probably wd have tried to keep him there or draw him back are dead.
In the end, it’s a great, tense, intense, powerfully dramatic ride complete w/ Boston accents, guns and tattoos.