My childhood games of cops and robbers were always lacking in moral ambiguity. Cops good; robbers bad. Then we all have peanut butter sandwiches.

My childhood games of cops and robbers were always lacking in moral ambiguity. Cops good; robbers bad. Then we all have peanut butter sandwiches.

In his second directorial effort, Ben Affleck gives "The Town" a good dose of very grown-up moral conflict while still managing plenty of pulse-quickening thrills.

Doug MacRay (Affleck) is from Charlestown, a Boston neighborhood known for producing bank robbers. And, of course, he is one.

After a slickly efficient heist, Doug and his crew come under investigation by an FBI agent (Jon Hamm). As he's tying up loose ends, Doug finds himself smitten with the bank employer they took hostage (Rebecca Hall) - to the chagrin of his sociopathic partner (Jeremy Renner).

Affleck follows "Gone Baby Gone" with another unexpectedly solid directing effort, and this time he's also starring.

"The Town" is magnificently paced, a nice mix of thrills, well-placed wit and universally fine acting.

Hamm is a great foil for Affleck's Doug as they play a cat-and-mouse game reminiscent of the one in "Heat." Renner is a standout as he chews on his Boston accent like gum.

Some minor fumbles with the love story can be forgiven. This flick is well-crafted and wildly entertaining. Your move, Matt Damon.