|Last year, Jeremy Renner broke out with an impressive Oscar-nominated performance in Best Picture-winner The Hurt Locker. At the time, I called hischaracter a "loose cannon who enjoys doing things his own way." The difference between last year's nominated performance and this year's isn't much. While last year, Renner portrayed SSG William James whose erratic behavior stood to harm only himself, this year's character isjust as wild, but directs his anger and craziness at others.|
The Town follows James Coughlin (Renner) and Doug MacRay (director Ben Affleck), a pair of bank robbers in a Boston suburb, and the FBI Special Agent, Adam Frawley (Jon Hamm), who is trying to bring their gang down. When MacRay starts to fall for a bank manager from their last job, he tells Coughlin he is quitting and moving away. Coughlin doesn't take the news very well, and completely flips out on MacRay. This is just one of several excessively violent outbursts we witness from Renner's character. He is constantly lashing out at people, and his erratic behavior even causes the team to stray from their plans during jobs.
Overall, the film is compelling enough, but lags behind Affleck's directorial debut, 2007's Gone Baby Gone. While Renner's portrayal rings true and is very compelling, it doesn't feel different enough from last year's performance to merit actual awards consideration. In addition, actors rarely win Oscars as the only nominee for their film, and Renner is unlikely to be the exception.