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the island of conclusions

Love that Dirty Water

the island of conclusions

bright star

Love that Dirty Water

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bright star
Hey, some of you out there are from Boston/ the Boston area, aren't you? Have you seen Ben Affleck's The Town?

I saw it this afternoon, and totally recommend it, even if it does depict a Boston--violent, insanely insular, deliberately thickheaded-- that only a Bostonian could love/feel nostalgic for (and most will tell you that it's that kind of shit that made them leave).


I went with a friend who grew up in Queens, and she was completely baffled and fascinated by the neighborhood dynamics it depicts because apparently, even in New York, there weren't neighborhoods so sharply divided not just along racial lines but along ethnic and class lines.

I mean, like Affleck himself, I'm white, middle-class and from Cambridge (we went to the same high school), and when I lived in Cambridge I never even considered, setting foot in the Charlestown, South Boston or Dorchester--any more than you would set foot in a black neighborhood like Roxboro in those (even more) racially troubled times. You just didn't--or you'd get bottles tossed at you, the way a character in the movie does. Now, I haven't lived in Boston for a long time, and I gather that now upscale condos are going up in Southie, but the movie seems to be set in the present, and not much seems to have changed....

But--hometown boy makes good and everything--Affleck does a great job. He has an amazing cast, including Jeremy Renner, the guy from the Hurt Locker, using his crazy powers of intensity for evil here, Titus Welliver, Chris Cooper, Peter Postlethwaite, Rebecca Hall. The only wrong note is Jon Hamm, who I love to death in Mad Men, but here seems ridiculously un-gritty--carefully enunciating his "fucks" and all. Advertising yes; law enforcement, no.

And Affleck himself has sure aged well. And turned into an excellent director.

So consider this a rec, even if you have no interest in Boston, which the movie makes out to be at least as exotic and incomprehensible as Iraq seemed in the last movie I saw starring Renner. Which it probably is, and always was.




  • OH COOL.

    I know we've talked about this -- I was born in Cambridge and lived there 'til I was about eight, at which point, suburbia, baby -- and I'll definitely check this movie out. Thanks for the rec!
    • Yes--I was thinking of you!

      I'll be interested to hear what you think--it's not a masterpiece, but I thought it captured that weird, inbred, violent, claustrophobic Boston vibe better than than the Clint Eastwood/ Sean Penn Mystic River which I also really liked. I'll have to try and see Affleck's other Boston movie now, "Gone, Baby, Gone."

      (J.Renner icon from the Hurt Locker, not this movie)
  • (no subject) - eight_demands
    • Oh, lucky you, moving to Boston--I hope you're enjoying it!

      It's a good movie, and captures the weird, claustrophobic, inbred violence of some Boston neighborhoods--and the down to the bone Irishness of it all--but I hope it doesn't have you booking the first flight out, 'cause it's not a pretty picture.

      I've always taken the sharply demarcated racially/ethnically divided neighborhood thing for granted--the Southern city I live in now sure has it, and when I lived in Colorado the lack of it confused me. But I hear there are many places in the US that are not like that--who knew?

      And how cool that it was filmed in your building!
  • *giggles* Boston and the Cape are the only bits of the US that I personally know! And I can't exactly claim to know know them, ya know? And I like the mature Affleck career, so thanks for the rec ;-P
    • We used to go to the Cape every summer--it's still my personal definition of natural beauty--I can barely appreciate the Outer Banks here in NC because, y'know, they aren't Cape Cod!

      I haven't lived in MA for a long time now--my whole family has left--and I only go back occasionally when I have an excuse for work. I think it's changed a lot--Cambridge, anyway, has become a kind of theme park version of itself. But this movie made it seem like nothing had changed, really.

      This is the first mature Affleck movie I've seen, and, yeah, I was pretty impressed with him as a director (especially putting together that cast!), as an actor, and just to look at--the whole tattooed, bullet-headed thing really suits him!
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