Ben Affleck co-wrote, directed, and stars. And it's very good. I'm impressed.
Affleck plays Doug MacRay, leader of a talented foursome of armed robbers based in Charlestown, MA. He's in the midst of what, for a longtime thug, might be deemed a midlife crisis. He's dropped drugs and booze, as well as his slutty girlfriend. He's growing concerned that one of his partners (played by Jeremy Renner) seems ever more willing to inflict actual violence on their victims and witnesses.
All this is brought to a head when a bank heist threatens to go bad, and the gang takes Claire, a beautiful bank employee, hostage. She's released unharmed, but Doug is assigned to go check up on her, in order to ensure she won't disclose anything important to law enforcement. And (of course) Doug and Claire fall for each other.
Things I liked:
John Hamm, from Mad Men, plays Frawley, a very good FBI agent
tracking down Doug's gang. And where have I seen that other guy…
oh, yeah, the "Man in Black" from Lost.
Relatively small but important parts for Chris Cooper (playing
Doug's incarcerated dad) and the late Pete Postlethwaite (playing
a truly villainous criminal mastermind).
It's filmed in and around the Boston area, including some great
scenes in the lyric little bandbox itself, Fenway Park. There's
at least one Red Sox in-joke. (Which, I'm ashamed to
admit, I had to look up to get.)
Right at the end there's a little three-word homage to one
of my favorite bits from The
Good, the Bad, and the Ugly.