Matt Damon and Casey Affleck team up for a very Boston heist in Apple's 'The Instigators' trailer

Matt Damon and Casey Affleck in The Instigators
(Image credit: Apple Studios)

Matt Damon teams up with a different Affleck than he’s most closely associated with in the new trailer for the Apple TV Plus original movie “The Instigators.” 

It’s Casey Affleck rather than Ben who joins Damon in this action comedy from director Doug Liman, who previously worked with Damon on “The Bourne Identity” and also directed action movies “Mr. & Mrs. Smith,” “Edge of Tomorrow” and the recent “Road House” remake. With Ben on board as a producer, “The Instigators” is an Affleck family affair, set in their beloved hometown of Boston.

The trailer showcases the dynamic between Damon and Affleck, who also appeared together in the “Ocean’s” movies, here playing much less suave and confident criminals. Damon plays Rory, an ex-Marine in financial trouble who’s looking for some quick cash to help him take care of his son. He joins forces with Affleck’s career criminal Cobby for a heist at a fundraiser for the city’s corrupt mayor (Ron Perlman).

The comedy comes from the combination of Rory’s inexperience and Cobby’s exasperation, and somewhere along the way, Rory’s psychiatrist Donna Rivera (Hong Chau) joins them as a semi-voluntary hostage. Chau and Damon also previously worked together, in very different roles in Alexander Payne’s “Downsizing,” and her deadpan delivery looks like it balances out the broad Boston brogues from Damon and Affleck.

The Instigators — Official Trailer | Apple TV+ - YouTube The Instigators — Official Trailer | Apple TV+ - YouTube
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As is generally the case in heist movies, things don’t exactly go according to plan, and Rory and Cobby end up on the run from both the authorities and the criminals they stole from, with Donna in tow. 

Liman has proved that he knows how to stage exciting action sequences, and he’s also demonstrated a flair for comedy in movies like “Go” and “Swingers.” There’s a joke in the trailer about taking notes on a criminal conspiracy that’s lifted directly from “The Wire,” but presumably the filmmakers are self-aware enough to know where that came from, and the rest of the humor seems fresher.

In addition to starring, Affleck co-wrote the screenplay with “City on a Hill” creator Chuck MacLean, a former journalist who knows his Boston crime and politics. The stacked supporting cast includes Michael Stuhlbarg, Paul Walter Hauser, Ving Rhames, Alfred Molina and Toby Jones.

“The Instigators” is one of several high-profile feature films coming up from Apple TV Plus, recently showcased in the streaming service’s highlight reel of future programming. It opens in limited release in theaters on August 2 before premiering August 9 on Apple TV Plus.

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Josh Bell

Josh Bell is a freelance writer and movie/TV critic based in Las Vegas. He's the former film editor of Las Vegas Weekly and has written about movies and TV for Vulture, Inverse, CBR, Crooked Marquee and more. With comedian Jason Harris, he co-hosts the podcast Awesome Movie Year.