As skeptical as I was when Ben Affleck took his first turn as director, he managed to prove himself more than adequate to the task with his first film Gone Baby Gone. Now with his latest directorial effort, The Town, he proves once again that all those years spent working with other directors, with a bit of his own talent thrown in, is more than enough to craft a suspenseful and entertaining crime thriller.
As this is a review of the Blu-ray Ultimate Edition of the film and not a full review of the film itself, suffice it to say I enjoyed The Town enough to watch it more than once. In fact, I’ve seen it at least three times. First, in a theater. Then, on Blu-ray and then again on Blu-ray in this Ultimate Collectors’s Edition.
The cast is excellent, especially Jeremy Renner and, somewhat surprisingly, Blake Lively. I also enjoyed watching Jon Hamm’s performance and, sadly, one of the last onscreen appearances of Pete Postlethwaite. Affleck is also quite good in the movie and has matured as an actor. At this point I can almost forgive him for Daredevil. Almost.
In case you haven’t seen the film, this edition is a great one with which to get aquatinted. The story is relatively straightforward and concerns Boston bank robber Doug MacRay (Affleck) who falls for a woman (Rebecca Halll) his gang had previously taken hostage during a robbery. At first, his interest in her is purely to find out what she knows and what she might tell the FBI agent investigating the case (Jon Hamm).
Then, as they get to know each other, he realizes there’s more to life than hanging out with his childhood buddies doing crimes. It’s then he decides to get out of the life and, with luck, take his new love along and start over again.
Of course, things don’t go exactly as planned as the one last heist goes terribly wrong and Doug realizes that his only hope for finding a happy future is to betray the only family he’s ever known.
Turning to the Blu-ray edition itself, this edition is chock full of goodies, special features and much more. It also features the extended cut of the film itself as well as an alternative ending, which I won’t spoil for you.
Some of the special features and bonus material include a 48-page photo book filed with behind-the-scenes photos and production notes, a poster-sized map of Charleston, the “town” of the film’s name, with highlighted areas where the film takes place, film prop reproductions including a 15-page FBI report, 4 mug shot cards and a rub-on tattoo sheet.
In addition, there’s the requisite “making-of” documentaries including The Town: A Director’s Journey and Ben’s Boston where actor/director Affleck takes you through the moviemaking process in his hometown. There’s also three versions of the film including the theatrical cut, the extended cut with alternative ending and a cut on regular DVD.
Picture and sound are, as you would expect, first rate. This was a well-photographed film in the first place and cinematographer Robert Elswit’s work takes to the Blu-ray format very nicely. In fact, I’m pretty sure this transfer actually improves a bit on the first Blu-ray edition. Of course, your mileage may vary depending on your own, personal viewing setup.
All of this, and more, comes together to offer an impressive package of information and enhancements to an already great viewing experience. With the success Affleck has had as a director so far, and seeing how he’s been able to add value and entertaining bits to The Town without making it seem like just another marketing gimmick, I’m looking forward to what he ends up doing next.
The Town: Ultimate Collector’s Edition is available now wherever Blu-rays are sold.