While the rest of the world is restoring Ben Affleck to star status after his well-reviewed and well-attended The Town opening, Salon’s Andrew O’Hehir is playing Armond White. He detects “troubling signs of celebrity malaise” in The Town, compared to Affleck’s directorial debut Gone Baby Gone: “you can’t even describe [it] as more of the same. It’s less of the same.” The movie is “mediocre,” with plenty of “unnecessary expositional detail” in the dialogue written in part by Affleck.
Given the presently “debased standards of action cinema,” O’Hehir believes that the film’s final heist scene could be enough to make The Town a success. The downside? Affleck winds up getting out-performed by nearly everyone else in the film, even if Jon Hamm doesn’t get enough screen time. Blake Lively “totally kills,” and Jeremy Renner is dangerous and “oddly charismatic.” O’Hehir describes Affleck as a “massively vain celebrity who’s totally convinced himself of his own authenticity,” and pleads for an intervention before he directs again.
Wake up Salon. Affleck’s a gifted director who will be rewarded by this successful critical and audience hit with more directing and acting assignments. We need more directors to cut through the studio crap, and he’s one of them.