The Role of Cities in Film

Last weekend I saw The Town, Ben Affleck's new crime thriller. The movie is good, in the sense that it keeps you entertained for two hours. But it's not great, because it keeps you entertained with completely unrealistic and over-the-top shoot-out scenes on the streets of Boston.

(from Wikipedia)

What The Town does do well is to thread Boston into the story. Sure, every movie has to be set somewhere, but way too many movies are only set somewhere because they have to be. How many movies take place in LA because that's where it's being filmed, and because it's easy to write the movie about LA? How many movies are based in some other city and then filmed in LA anyway, crushing any hope of realism for the setting?

Affleck's depiction of Charlestown might not be 100% accurate, but in general, it does a pretty good job of making the city of Boston a crucial piece of the film.

I think the reason I like Nick and Norah's Infinite Playlist is primarily because of the way New York City is portrayed. This is a silly teenage coming-of-age story, the type that I typically can't even finish; but it's a film where New York isn't just the setting, it's a main character. That alone makes it good enough to see more than once.



    Russel Crowe's upcoming flick, from what I hear, does a fantastic job of making the city of Pittsburgh a main character in the movie. Even with just the previews (and being a new resident), I'm excited to see that.

    There was an independent film that I saw many years ago called "Side Streets," and I felt it did an amazing job of incorporating the city of NYC into the film -- in a realistic and "neighborhood-ly" approach.