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It’s hard to believe Ben Affleck has just two films under his belt as a director (with a third, “Argo”, on the way). “The Town” was his second movie, and it shows a surprisingly confident eye behind the camera. In front of the camera, Affleck seems to have also matured noticeably as an actor, and this is coming from someone who was never that big a fan of his. Certainly, he hasn’t exactly been stretching his acting muscles, especially during his “Hollywood movie star” days on films like “Gigli” and “Paycheck”. “The Town” is a ballsy crime thriller about childhood friends and a man looking for a way out, and Warner Home Video is re-releasing the film in a new Ultimate Collector’s Edition.
Ben Affleck follows his acclaimed Gone Baby Gone directorial debut by directing, co-writing and starring in a taut thriller about robbers and cops, friendship and betrayal, love and hope and escaping a past that has no future. He plays Doug MacRay, leader of a Boston bank robber gang but not cut from the same cloth as his fellow thieves. When Doug falls into a passionate romance with the bank manager (Rebecca Hall) briefly taken hostage in their last heist, he wants out of this life and out of the town. As the Feds close in and the crew questions his loyalty, he has one of two choices: betray his friends or lose the woman he loves. Jon Hamm, Jeremy Renner, Blake Lively, Titus Welliver, Pete Postlethwaite and Chris Cooper also star.
Childhood friends. A town where crime is a way of life. Devious gangsters. What’s a man who wants out of such a situation to do? For a smart man like Doug MacRay (Affleck), there are a lot of options. Unfortunately most of them can get people killed, himself included. Welcome to “The Town”.
We’ve already reviewed “The Town” pretty extensively on BeyondHollywood.com. Brent wrote a great review that you can read here, and I further covered the first DVD/Blu-ray release here, complete with a breakdown of the accompanying special/bonus features. So, with that in mind, I’m just going to spend the rest of this review covering the new features of this latest Ultimate Collector’s Edition release.
Here’s what you get with the Ultimate Collector’s Edition. Click to enlarge:
The first thing you notice is the nice box art. The collection comes in a nice holder covered in a heavy, somber blue-tint that I think meshes well with the movie. In terms of discs, you get three — one standard DVD that contains the film in extended cut form, complete with the alternate ending; and two Blu-ray discs, featuring the theatrical version of the film and extended cut on one disc, and the extended cut with the alternate ending on the second disc.
I’ve already seen both versions of the movie, and I have to admit, this is one of those times when an Extended Cut of a film really fleshes out the characters in all new directions. Jon Hamm’s FBI agent, in particular, gets expanded on quite a bit in the extended cut, as well as MacRay’s relationship with Krista, played by Blake Lively in probably her best performance to date. Affleck certainly got a lot out of Lively here; so much so that I was surprised by how average she looked in “Green Lantern” a year later.
Bonus goodies include a small book crammed with behind-the-scenes photos on the making of “The Town”, including individual profiles for each of the film’s main characters and choice quotes by Affleck (donning his director’s hat) about each one of his actors. The final piece of the new release is a “Confidential” envelope that’s a grab bag of faux “official” material, including a big ol map of “The Town’s” town, FBI dossier on MacRay’s heists, Boston PD mugshots of MacRay’s crew, and a Vericom employee “personnel file” for one Desmond Elden. (You’ll know who that is if you’ve seen the movie.) And finally, an amusing set of tattoos featuring the “Fighting Irish” … doing a little robbery, I guess. I don’t think Notre Dame would approve. At all.