“For where your treasure is, there will be your heart also.” – Matthew 6:21
Warner Bros. Pictures in association with Legendary Pictures, Thunder Road Films and GK Films present…
Written and Directed by Ben Affleck (Gone Baby Gone) the film was based on Chuck Hogan’s gripping novel “The Prince of Thieves” which was published in 2004. A story of a bank robber who did not only stole money from the community of Charlestown, Boston but also their values and pride! But that was just the beginning; Ben together with newcomers Peter Craig and Aaron Stockard wrote the Screenplay to convey a part of this city’s facts between “Tunies” and “Townies” in which criminal tendencies for robbery has been passed down from one generation to the next. It was self-oriented, straight-up premise with machismo filled dialogue!
Going back to the point man! Someone is in a roll here, Ben also stars as the film’s highest profiled bank robber Douglas MacRay a seeming nice guy who acts as the de facto leader of an ensemble. Together with his wrecking crew, they meticulously target armored vans with guards that have the least tendency to bite back! He was able to have this character’s bad habits or maybe he had the wrong crowd surrounding him all his life starting with his family; Chris Cooper (American Beauty) is Stephen MacRay, like father like son who has the same line of work while having the demeanor of being compassionate and loyal that makes him more dangerous!
The actor had some moments in his career to shine with the late 90’s “Chasing Amy”, “Good Will Hunting” and “Shakespeare in Love” and reasonably fell on blockbuster films like “Armageddon”, “Pearl Harbor”, “The Sum of All Fears” and his superhero take on Marvel’s “Daredevil”. He had bounced back ever since and fought his way to ante up the game even with his brother Casey and long time friend Matt Damon who both had better offers and projects. Through Directing, Ben was able to provide Hollywood thought provoking stories that gave him accolades and for the public to embrace his work once more!
The film was filled with “Madmen” and Jon Hamm (Stolen) is no exemption! He portrays FBI Special Agent Adam Frawley who literally takes his job seriously; he was a fan favorite to be the next “Superman” though not gaining an audition, he could settle working at street level in fighting crime.
On the other hand, Jeremy Renner (The Hurt Locker) is back in his villainy role since his dog days in “S.W.A.T”, he portrays Doug’s bestfriend James Coughlin the impetuous gang member who never backs down to no one even to his best friend! These two were the best performers in the film, seeing they roam around Boston literally working on both sides of a coin. Relentless and fixated to their ideals they did their parts “to a T” not over the top nor was it cheesy!
The sober but adequate Blake Lively (The Sisterhood of the Travelling Pants) at least for this film! Krista Coughlin, a former lover of the lead actor and sister to James who at least I found has the acting capacity and be genuine enough to make it work. She can definitely be into drama where she will find better offers in the next few years. While Rebecca Hall (Vicky Cristina Barcelona) flaunts her career with near perfect portrayals. She portrays a Bank Manager named Claire Keesey, so naive, predictable and most importantly forgiving!
The story was ardently schemed moreover since it was based on a book with crime as its catalyst; there was already a hint of proverbial morality injected to make it additionally interesting. While it succumbed to controversies linking bank robberies in different countries for the past few years, it only suggests how human nature works when it is pushed to its limits!
I used to remember about the famous robber from Australia named Ned Kelly which was made into a film with the late Heath Ledger who had a last stand with the Victoria Police wearing body armor and a head plate. While two of the best actors in film history got on their cat and mouse chase in the prolific film titled “Heat”, a story regarding another bank robber named McCauley played by Robert De Niro which was loosely based on true accounts from former real life Chicago Detective Chuck Adamson and lastly, Johnny Depp portrayed John Dillinger in the film “Public Enemies” with the same Director Michael Mann.
Everybody needs a second chance to be part of society and be absolved from past sins. But not everyone has that same standpoint where each individual walks away thinking that they have paid their dues more so with the people and the law that presents itself when needed. Overall, it was gritty, stunning and ego driven not contemplating on the action plus the drama but rather on its given mindset: “I’ll see you again – this side or the other!”