Ben Affleck has directed four feature-length films so far. I ranked them all here. If he directs more, I’ll add them.
Ben Affleck used his skills that he fine-tuned on fun Dennis Lehane thrillers only to sell out to make a slick piece of CIA and Hollywood propaganda. The way he paid for it though karmically in a “chickens come home to roost” sort of way professionally and personally in yet another fall from grace was fitting though! This film spawned his second downfall which then of course led to his third rise. The man is a beast.
3. Live by Night
Ben Affleck just flew too close to the sun here, and that is something perfectly in line with the Ben Affleck persona. Yes, this film may be a hilarious embarrassment in every way, shape, and form, but it’s dumb in a very particular way that makes it endearing. The fact that Ben Affleck has glaring strengths and weaknesses but is not aware of which is which yet is a key part of who he is and allows his strengths to be so lovable. We as a society love to forgive Ben Affleck for his foibles but without foibles we would have nothing to forgive him for and thus he would be nothing. Also, it’s not CIA propaganda so.
2. Gone Baby Gone
From the beginning, Ben Affleck has displayed a knack for directing dumb Boston crime movies. It truly is his wheelhouse! Is it a limited wheelhouse?? absolutely but who cares. He directs them with love and care and makes them slick and well-paced enough with overly strong casts to be quite pleasant to watch. He also has a knack for managing to get 1-2 standout performances from his cast in his dumb Boston crime movies, with Amy Ryan and Ed Harris doing the honors here. A very fine debut feature.
1. The Town
Affleck’s masterpiece and likely something he will never top. Affleck has a talent for playing dumb people and making dumb Boston crime movies, and this movie combines both into the ultimate Affleck experience. Even besides all of that stuff though, The Town is simply just a slick crime thriller with a fantastic cast and manages to excel at the majority of the things it is trying to do. It is a great lane for Affleck to pursue as a filmmaker, and the further he strays from it the more likely the quality of his work will wane. This film is also noteworthy for being a worthy inclusion to the Jon Hamm Himbo Canon. His character here is just stunningly dumb in ways that call to mind his role on 30 Rock. Kudos to all involved for pulling that off.