sonny points us to a positive reaction from Empire critic Damon Wise in Venice, where Ben Affleck’s The Town is screening out of competition:
The Town is beautifully drawn; it has characters to care about and a situation that, though a little implausible, carries its own internal logic. And unlike that dream movie, there is real action here, with blazing guns, exhilarating car chases and violence with authentically fatal consequences.
…Affleck never dials down the threat his character faces, and the film flirts constantly with the only two ways its story can go ‚Äì death or escape ‚Äì to riveting effect. The supporting cast is excellent ‚Äì notably Renner, Hall and especially Blake Lively, as Doug’s white-trash girlfriend, who really help Affleck sell his rough-diamond antihero ‚Äì while Pete Postlethwaite and Chris Cooper make memorable appearances as The Florist and Doug’s father respectively. But Affleck deserves special mention too. Though he’s a little too clean-cut and articulate ever to seem especially blue collar, there’s a lot of subtlety in his performance here, especially in a crucial scene with Hall.
One quibble: “unlike that dream movie, there is real action here, with blazing guns, exhilarating car chases and violence with authentically fatal consequences.” Sorry, but The Town and Inception are both movies. The action and gunfire and exhilarating chases in one film are no more real — and no less effective — than they are in the other. The consequences in both movies are all in our minds, and the reason we care is because we’re invested.
All films, all fiction, is a form of dreaming with our eyes wide open, and dream worlds on screen have claimed their hold my emotions since the first time I saw The Wizard of Oz. To imply that film consequences can’t be authentic unless they’re threatening in familiar everyday situations is to deny one of the reasons we go to movies in the first place.