• Town, The (Ultimate Collector’s Edition)

    Released by:
    Warner Brothers
    Released on: March 6, 2012.

    Director: Ben Affleck

    Cast: Ben Affleck, Jeremy Renner, Jon Hamm, Titus Welliver, Rebecca Hall

    Year: 2010

    Purchase From Amazon

    The Movie:

    A surprising pick for an ‘Ultimate Collector’s Edition’ release from Warner Brothers, Ben Affleck’s The Town is nevertheless a pretty solid crime film worth checking out – and hey, now it’s available in one handy set with its theatrical cut, its extended cut and its extended cut with an alternate ending and loads of extra features on top of that. Overkill? Absolutely, but those who enjoy the movie will find much to geek out about.

    But first, the movie – which Affleck based on the book Prince of Thieves by Chuck Hagan. The story follows a man named Doug MacRay (Affleck), born and raised in Boston, Charleston specifically, who has been a criminal all of his life. Things take an interesting turn for him when he starts to fall in love with Claire Weaver (Rebecca Hall), the foxy dark haired managed of a bank he just knocked over with his bank robber pals. This obviously complicates Doug’s life, as his partner in crime, Coughlin (Jeremy Renner), is not too happy that Doug’s making kissy faces with a witness who could put them away. Equally unhappy is a local Beantown mob boss, Fergie (Pete Postlethwaite), who has only his self interest at heart and then there’s the presence of Doug’s ex-lady friend (Blake Lively) who just can’t seem to let go of our dreamy antihero. If this weren’t complicated enough, there are two Feds snooping around, Adam Frawley (Jon Hamm) and Dino Ciampa (Titus Welliver), both looking to catch the guys behind the string of bank robberies in the area.

    Well acted and featuring some well crafted characters, The Town doesn’t really bring anything all that new or original to the tried and true bank robber movie, even the romantic angle has been done before, but Affleck gets credit for doing all of this very well. The heist scenes in particular are plenty tense and feature some great camerawork and blisteringly suspenseful pacing while the more character driven moments are mature and believable.

    Performance wise, everyone here brings their A-game, with Affleck playing the strong and somewhat silent type very well and feeling completely natural alongside the pretty Hall. These two make a great couple, the kind you want to make it, which makes their ‘doomed from the start’ romance all the more interesting. Semi-insane Coughlin, as much an adrenaline junkie as his partner in crime, is played very well by Renner and Postlethwaite steals the show as Fergie the gang boss. Even the two FBI agents are believable here, if not as memorable as the others in the cast.

    The film makes some interesting parallels between Doug’s relationship with Claire and his career as a bank robber, not so subtlety alluding to the fact that he’s into both aspects of his life for the same reason – he can’t resist the danger, and he’s intrinsically drawn to both the danger in his life and the romance in his life the same way he’s seemingly destined to stay attached to crime ridden Charleston itself. That doesn’t take away from our want to see them live happily ever after, however, even if we know that they probably shouldn’t. This kind of character depth, coupled with those great heist scenes mentioned earlier, make this one well worth a watch, a solid heist film that doesn’t reinvent the wheel (some have understandably compared it to Heat, which is a pretty valid observation) but which hits all the right notes at all the right times and is all the better for it.

    There are three cuts of the film provided here, as mentioned. The Extended Cut restores a lot of the love story elements between Doug and Claire that were cut out to keep the running time more manageable for the Theatrical Version. Other bits and pieces are added throughout the film as well but the romantic side of the plot is what turns out to get the most additional screen time. Additionally this release allows you to watch The Extended Cut with a new alternate ending.


    All three cuts of The Town arrive on Blu-ray in AVC encoded 2.40.1 widescreen in 1080; high definition and the transfers are pretty solid (the previous single disc release included both the theatrical and extended cuts of the film on the same BD50 disc, this release gives each cut its own BD50 disc). Compression issues are nowhere to be found, detail looks very good, colors look nice and natural and not artificially pumped up and texture remains strong throughout the film. You can spot some ringing on each disc if you look for it but other than that you’ll be hard pressed to complain about the image quality here, Warner Brothers have done a very fine job.

    Each cut of the movie also gets the DTS-HD 5.1 Master Audio treatment, in English, and again, this is top notch work. The surrounds get a good work out during the action scenes but even quieter and more dramatic personal moments have some nice ambience to them. Levels are well balanced, bass response sounds great (you’ll notice it anytime a gun is fired) and as you’d expect there are no problems at all with any hiss or distortion. Alternate tracks are provided on disc one in French and Spanish while subtitles are offered in English SDH, French, Spanish, German and Turkish.

    Extras wise, in addition to the three cuts of the film this set includes an excellent documentary entitled a thirty minute documentary called The Town: A Director’s Journey which shows how Affleck put all of this together. He comes across as a nice guy here, quite smart and capable, and there are some interesting moments here where you really get a feeling for what he was going with in terms of putting this film together and why he worked with the people he worked with.

    Aside from that, there’s loads more such as a commentary track with for EACH of the three cuts of the movie from Affleck (the extended cut and extended cut with alternate ending versions are extensions of Affleck’s commentary from the theatrical cut) who speaks quite passionately about this project, what it meant to him, where his ideas came from and why the different versions of the movie now exist. There’s also a half hour long documentary here entitled Ben’s Boston: Focus Points which is a collection of six related featurettes that cover the locations used in the film and which focus on six key scenes from the film – this can be accessed by what is essentially picture in picture technology so it’s scene specific and quite a good use of the technology that Blu-ray can offer. An extended scene cut indicator (basically a pop up to show you what wasn’t included in the original theatrical cut as it appears on screen), a trailer for the feature, animated menus and chapter stops round out the digital extras.

    Inside the fancy hardcover slipcase packaging you’ll find, in addition to the discs housed inside a digipack, a nice hardcover book of photos and essays on the film as well as a small manila envelope that includes some related items that tie into the movie and a poster reproduction. A nice touch.

    The Final Word:

    Yes, this is definitely overkill but if you like the movie and don’t already own the previous release, this is a great way to get everything that was included in that package and quite a bit more – the extended cut with the alternate ending goes on a bit long but it’s well put together, helps flesh out a few areas where the theatrical cut needs help and winds up making for a more well rounded feature. You can’t fault Warner on the AV front, the movie looks and sounds great and everything from the extras to the packaging has been put together with some very obvious care making this a very impressive release overall.

    Click on the images below for full sized Blu-ray screen caps!

    Comments 8 Comments
    1. Mark Tolch's Avatar
      Mark Tolch -
      "Ben Affleck’s The Heist"....huh?
    1. Ian Jane's Avatar
      Ian Jane -
      Typo. Fixed.
    1. Mark Tolch's Avatar
      Mark Tolch -
      Oh. I was confused.
    1. Todd Jordan's Avatar
      Todd Jordan -
      Did I watch the same movie? I don't remember much about it I guess.
    1. Ian Jane's Avatar
      Ian Jane -
      You probably watched Puppytown and got confused.
    1. Todd Jordan's Avatar
      Todd Jordan -
      That happened with the Superbowl too. I missed it because I watched the Puppy Bowl.
    1. Paul Casey's Avatar
      Paul Casey -
      I was watching Escape From Pawscatraz. Ah, the good old days.
    1. Todd Jordan's Avatar
      Todd Jordan -
      You suck, Escape From Pawscatraz sucks, and you suck.