R (for violence, language and sexual content), Warner Bros, 123 minutes.

Written and Directed by Ben Affleck. Starring: Ben Affleck, Jeremy Renner, Blake Lively, Jon Hamm, Chris Cooper, Pete Postlethwaite.

The Town is Ben Affleck’s 2nd directional effort (after 2007s Gone Baby Gone) and is an impressive piece of work. This film could have easily been just another run of the mill crime thriller but it is given a boost by a smarter script than usual and exciting action sequences that keep you on the edge of your seat. My only real complaint is that I felt it a bit too long and thus moved at a slower pace than I would have preferred.

The film is about four men — Doug MacRay (Ben Affleck in good form here), his best friend; Jem Coughlin (a brilliant Jeremy Renner), Gloansy, (Slaine) and Dez Elden (Owen Burke) from the tough streets of Charlestown Massachusetts who rob banks for a living.

The film opens with a bank heist where after a silent alarm is triggered, they take the bank manager Claire Heesey, (Rebecca Hall) hostage, Once they have escaped they let her go only to find that she lives in their same neighborhood. Fearing the cops may get to them through her Jem wants to take her out so Doug says he will handle it himself. Instead of doing this he befriends Claire and they soon begin a relationship.

In the meantime, FBI Agent Adam Frawley (Jon Hamm) is in charge of the case and soon finds out that they all work for a crook called Fergie (Pete Postlethwaite).  Agent Frawley is then in hot pursuit of the gang as they continue to rob banks.

Chris Cooper is grossly underused in this film, playing Doug’s father who is locked away in jail. His scene is literally a few minutes long.

Blake Lively was surprisingly good in her role as Krista Coughlin, the sister of Jem and ex girlfriend of Doug.

There is some very witty dialogue in the film and good performances from all, especially Jeremy Renner and Blake Lively as stated above.

The action sequence are very realistic and executed very well, which is again kudos to Ben Affleck’s directing. There is a particular scene where the gang are escaping a bank robbery dressed as Nun’s that is very thrilling and even has a hilarious finale to it.

This is a solid film, with good writing, good direction and good acting. An entertaining night out at the movies and a film that has me looking out for what Ben Affleck is going to do next. 3/5 stars.