Forget the shame of “Bennifer”, the personal and professional collaboration (Gigli) of Jennifer Lopez the new “American Idol” judge, and Ben Affleck, who proved to be a director and screenwriter to watch with “Gone Baby Gone”, based on the Dennis Lehane novel, in 2007, and in “The Town” he adds a fine acting job to become a real triple threat, Clint Eastwood style. The story of 4 life long friends in the rough and tumble Charlestown neighborhood of Boston, where crime skills are supposedly passed from generation to generation. A heist gone wrong leads to a later relationship between ring leader Affleck and the hostage the gang had taken (nicely played by Rebecca Hall). “Madmen” star John Hamm is terrific as the hardnosed FBI detective in pursuit of the gang. Oscar nominee Jeremy Renner is electrifying as the really bad seed member of the gang, with nothing to lose, and two other great performances by Chris Cooper and Pete Postlethwaite add to the luster of this gritty and sometimes violent crime thriller. The directing and photography is superb and, as Affleck proved directing “Gone Baby Gone” star Amy Ryan to an Oscar nomination, he knows how to get the most from his actors. A Boston accent ain’t easy, yet he gets “Gossip Girl” star Blake Lively to give a very authentic performance as his druggie, one-time neighborhood honey. There is a semi-Hollywood ending that takes a bit of the edge away but it’s a fine effort overall. Rated R for violence and strong language.

3.8 GPA

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