The Town

The Town

Blu-Ray Rating: ****

Reviewed by: Amber Wilkinson

Read Jennie Kermode's film review of The Town

This Region-free triple-polay edition has been causing some controversy because of Warner's decision to encode two separate full editions onto this single disc rather than employing branching. Obviously this means there's a whole lot of runtime snaffled away here but, in all honesty, I think you'll be hard-pressed to spot any problems. The 1080p AVC MPEG-4 transfer is nice and strong with the colours and blue tint all working well. The audio is a suitably impressive match for the action, too, with plenty of oomph in the foley work but which never threatens to overwhelm the dialogue. Subtitling is present and correct on both the feature and the extras - and I only spotted one piece of incorrect subtitling. Ironically, it comes when British actress Rebecca Hall refers in one of the featurettes to having something "in her toolkit" and the, presumably American transcriber, took it down as "docket". A second disk features a DVD copy of the film and there is also a digital copy for those who want to port it.

Sometimes 'solo' director's commentaries can end up being a real chore, but Ben Affleck is an amiable and entertaining companion, offering a good level of insight and entertainment via his track. It's worth noting that the additional cut here is most certainly "extended" rather than specifically a "director's cut". Affleck indicates where the additional material is and, almost always, explains why he made the decision to leave it out of the theatrical version, while still going on to explain the reasons why he likes it and has restored it here. Most of the additional material is concerned with expanding either a knowledge of Charlestown itself or further explaining the character's actions. A tentative romance between Rebecca Hall's Claire and Jon Hamm's FBI agent was jetisoned, for example - a good decision that helps give the theatrical cut of the film a tighter focus. As with almost all cuts, something is lost and something is gained and this one is certainly well worth a look.

Copy picture

As for technical detail, there's plenty of interest here, particularly in regard to the research Affleck undertook so that the film was rooted in reality - one pivotal street chase sequence, for example, uses a real-life robbery as a template. He also reveals that blood had to be added to Claire's shirt in the launderette scene by a special effects team later because they forgot, which was "embarrassing". It is this sort of dry and engaging sense of humour coupled with an easy confidence, which makes the commentary track feel a lot shorter than it is. Referring to his decision to show Jem (Jeremy Renner) in black and white flashback because he loved the film stock, despite worrying it might be a bit too "film school", he says: "If you're going to get hit for something, get hit for something you like."

Filling out the extras package are a series of six featurettes Pulling Off The Perfect Heist, The Town, Nuns With Guns, The Real People Of The Town, Ben Affleck: Director And Actor and The Cathedral Of Boston. These more or less do what their names suggest, focusing on each aspect in turn. With a total runtime of around 30 minutes, they are slickly edited, mixing talking heads, footage from the film and making of sequences that show Affleck the director as well as the actor. There is an option to watch them embedded within the movie itself, but I would recommend just sitting down to them as a separate entity as they stand up perfectly in their own right and do rather interrupt the flow of the film otherwise. All in all a lean but good package.

Reviewed on: 10 Feb 2011
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The Town packshot
Events spiral out of control after a bank robber falls for a woman he has previously held hostage.
Amazon link

Product Code: 1000180838

Region: 2

Ratio: 2.40:1

Sound: DTS-HD

Extras: Pulling Off The Perfect Heist, The Town, Nuns With Guns, The Real People Of The Town, Ben Affleck: Director And Actor and The Cathedral Of Boston, director

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