Let’s be completely honest, here. Ben Affleck hasn’t always made the best choices when it comes to his film projects. He’s a multiple nominee of the Golden Raspberry awards, a sort of anti-Oscar, given to actors and films deemed ‘the worst.’ In 2003, he won the award for Worst Actor for three of his movies: Daredevil, Paycheck, and the infamous Gigli. However, Affleck is also the same actor that has starred in Chasing Amy and Hollywoodland. The man can act, and he’s proven it. It just seems that sometimes what he’s acting in isn’t up to snuff.
On the other hand, Affleck is often referred to as an Academy Award Winner, which is true except he hasn’t won an Oscar for acting. Affleck and Matt Damon share an Academy Award for Best Original Screenplay for Good Will Hunting. Given that Ben has also written the script for The Town (in addition to Gone Baby Gone), it’s a mystery why the marketing isn’t banking on this fact either, instead telling us that this movie is from “the studio that brought you The Departed,” which seems to be included only because it’s another film about crime in Boston.
The Town is the first time that Affleck is directing himself in a movie, and he’s picked an ambitious project to do so. Not only is the film filled with other acclaimed actors such as Jon Hamm and Jeremy Renner, it’s also full of action, a notoriously tricky aspect of film making. Reviews indicate that he’s done an admirable job, making this not only one of his best reviewed films ever, but also putting The Town on equal ground with his directorial debut.
Will the movie-going public forgive Ben Affleck for his past mistakes? It may be a tough sell as this is his first leading role since 2004’s Jersey Girl. Affleck has had many supporting roles in recent years, most notably in Hollywoodland which netted him a Golden Globe nod for Best Supporting Actor. However, with what looks to be strong performances and direction as well as a solid base of critical acclaim, The Town may well cement Affleck’s position as a leading actor/director on par with Clint Eastwood.