It’s a little odd that a movie like The Town has already received an “Ultimate Collector’s Edition.” The film stars Ben Affleck, Rebecca Hall, Jon Hamm, Jeremy Renner, Blake Lively, Pete Postlethwaite, and Chris Cooper in a Boston slums version of Heat. While the story arc will be all too familiar, The Town is one of better films of Affleck’s career as both director and actor. Mad Men’s Hamm is a little bland as an FBI agent in this film, but Renner really captures your attention in his sadistic role as James “Jem” Coughlin.
The Town follows the lives of four friends from Charlestown, a one-square-mile neighborhood in Boston. The film promptly tells you that this neighborhood produces more armed robbers than any area in the U.S. Once you know that fact, the first bank robbery begins.
Affleck plays Doug MacRay, the unspoken leader of the team. However, his best friend and blood brother, Jem, has a pension for taking control of the situation with strategically reckless moves. At least, that’s what Doug believes. Jem takes bank manager Claire Keesey as a hostage, against MacRay’s judgement. When the crew learns that she lives nearby, Jem says that she’s got to be taken care of. He’s afraid that she will recognize him and possibly expose him to the feds.
MacRay decides to “handle” the situation. However, what starts off as work, quickly turns into a relationship. MacRay develops real feelings for Claire and Jem is not too about the new relationship.
Although the relationship between Claire and Doug is a major part of the story, the real tension is from the relationship between Doug and Jem. The two may not be brothers by birth, but they share a bond that is even stronger. Unfortunately, several events lead to that relationship unraveling.
Postlethwaite has a brilliant performance as the Florist, the person who sends Doug’s crew out on bank jobs. His slow paced, methodical dialogue will immediately draw you into the gritty Bostonian tale.
The Ultimate Collector’s Edition includes the theatrical cut and an all-new extended cut. The new extended cut only contains an additional three minutes above the initial extended cut, released prior. The new cut is somewhat of a miss. It serves only as reminder that good editing has a purpose in feature films. The extended version tends to sap the energy from the movie, while offering little in the way of new and interesting details. As it stands, the theatrical version captures the relationships best.
This release features a few bonus trinkets in an oversized box, including a 48-page Photo Book that has production photos and filmmaker notes. There is also a poster size map of Charlestown with notes from Affleck. Finally, there are a few film prop reproductions, including: 15-page FBI report, 4 mug shot cards, Vericom Employee File and a Rub-on Tattoo sheet.
As far as digital bonuses go, there is a new documentary from Affleck, which is about 30 minutes long on the making of the film. There are also several small segments called “Ben’s Boston”, which also work as focus points in the movie.
Overall the Blu-Ray transfer still looks beautiful on this version versus prior releases without little change. There seem to be a few less artifacts, but most importantly Boston is still a gritty area.