Viewed – 19 July 2011 Blu-ray
Actor Ben Affleck has never really been an actor I’ve ever rushed to see the next film of. Although dependable, and with a more than credible c.v. of quality movies behind him, he’s the sort of star that goes in, does the job, goes home – but rarely leaves his mark. Having recently moved into directing with Gone Baby Gone and more recently this heist thriller – he’s definitely trying to make a bigger name for himself. The question remains, does he succeed?
Affleck plays the leader of a group of expert bank robbers working for underworld crime boss Pete Postleswaite (looking very unhealthy indeed, in possibly his last screen appearance). During one such bank job, they take a hostage, an attractive female bank manager, before eventually letting her go. Concerned what she might have learnt regarding their identities, Affleck chooses to get better acquainted with the woman without her knowledge of who he really is, and so sets up a series of complications as the criminals try to keep one step ahead of the law. Nothing here, will you not have seen before in thrillers like Takers or the seminal masterpiece, Heat. Affleck is not very convincing as a violent leader of a gang, as he comes across too much the nice guy, and despite several exciting action sequences, the movie left me with a strong sense of déjà vu. Not helping the clichéd script is the Boston setting where authentic accents struggle with overly cool dialogue, leaving me more often than not wishing there were subtitles – not good. Joining Affleck is The Hurt Locker’s Jeremy Renner who makes for a diverting nutjob, but seriously lacks the depth he showed in Kathryn Bigelow’s Oscar-magnet. And as the bank manager, Rebecca Hall turns in a likable but undemanding performance, but at least for me, she was very easy on the eyes.
So a heist movie lacking anything to give it its own personality in a crowded subgenre, seriously let down by a star and director who obviously thinks he’s better and sharper than he actually is.
Verdict: 2 /5