The nation can now forgive Ben Affleck for Gigli and the whole Bennifer mess.
He starred in, directed and co-wrote the screenplay for what is likely to be remembered as one of the best movies of 2010.
Affleck plays Doug MacRay, a tough, smart bank robber who learned the trade from his father, as is apparently common in the working-class Boston suburb of Charlestown. Jeremy Renner is explosive as Jim, Doug's childhood best friend and partner in crime. They and two cohorts storm into a bank, take the manager (Rebecca Hall) hostage and depart with the loot before the bank opens and before the title and opening credits roll.
The hostage is released unharmed, but the robbers are unnerved to discover she lives in their neighborhood. Jim would like her "taken care of," just in case she saw any of their faces and might be able to identify them. Doug wants to protect her and quickly falls for her.
An unlikely romance develops, more banks gets robbed and Jon Hamm plays a fast-talking FBI agent in hot -- and I do mean hot -- pursuit of the perps. That guy is smokin'.
The dialogue is snappy and believable. The performances are uniformly superb -- including small roles by Chris Cooper and especially Pete Postlethwaite. And, the action -- both the car chases and the gun fire -- is intense, thrilling and much more coherent than other examples from this genre.
Affleck is back. See it!