I was looking forward to "The Town", since I like action-thriller movies, and, being from the Boston area, have always been interested in films about Boston. Unfortunately, I found the film a disappointment on many fronts, and, imo, was overrated. "The Town" had the potential for being an all-time great film, and I would've liked to have liked it. However, I found that there were too many flaws in it that caused "The Town" to fall well short of that potential.
A) Ben Affleck and his assistant producer(s) wanted to cut the film down from 4 hours, which was completely and totally understandable, but they went way overboard in that respect, leaving too many loose ends and too many dots unconnected that might've made "The Town" more credible. There was too much slip-shod, slap-happy editing of this film, making it too fast-paced and leaving little, if any room, for the audience to stop and take a breather, if one gets the drift.
B) The scenes, car chases and car crashes, most notably in the North End and Fenway Park, were extremely overblown, to the point of total unbelievability, with too much exploding on the screen. Imho, there was really no need for such excesses.
C) Blake Lively did a good job as the skanky, drug-addicted, loose-moraled single mother, Krista Coughlin, who was also Doug MacRay's ex-girlfriend and sister of Doug's best friend and right-hand man, "Jem" Coughlin, an unstable, psychotic dust-head, who was played skillfully and fantastically by Jeremy Renner. Those were the two best characters in the film, imo.
Although I sympathized with the bank manager, Claire Keesey in the beginning, when her bank was robbed by Doug and his henchmen, and she was forced to open the vault at gunpoint (which really wasn't her fault), I found myself becoming less and less sympathetic with Claire as the film went on. My sympathy ran out on Claire well before the end of the film, because she not only made the mistake of accepting a date with a perfect stranger that she'd met in a laundromat, who turned out to be one of the guys (Doug) who'd robbed her bank only days before, but she continued to have contact with Doug and to abet him in his crimes, even after learning who he truly was through the Feds (pictures), and after the Feds learned of Doug and Claire's relationship through a recorded telephone conversation between the two of them.
More to the point, Claire not only lied to the Feds about who Doug really was, in order to cover him, but she lied to the Feds about the fact that she'd noticed a "Fighting Irish" tattoo on the back of "Jem"'s neck, but she continued to abet Doug and ultimately tipped him off to the Feds' presence in her Charlestown condo apartment when they were literally on the cusp of arresting Doug and sending him to prison, where he belonged.
Keeping the stolen money that Doug left for her before he skipped town for Florida also put Claire in an extremely bad light. She had no right to keep that stolen money and spend money that wasn't hers to spend on the renovation of a local ice-hockey rink, no matter how noble a deed it supposedly was. Using stolen money for that purpose was wrong, imho. She should've turned that ill-gotten money into the police anonymously, and found more honest ways of getting funding for the renovation of the ice-hockey rink.
All of the above having been said, Claire should've also been criminally prosecuted for abetting Doug, who was a professional armed robber/felon and wanted fugitive and helping him go free, and for receiving stolen goods (a duffel bag full of ill-gotten money).
Doug was played well by Ben Affleck, but the Boston accent was rather overdone and somewhat pretentious, I think. As a character, however, Doug is not the decent guy that he comes off as. The only reason that Doug prevented "Jem" from killing or harming Claire was to protect him and his men from going back to jail. Doug was interested in being romantic with Claire for one real reason (he oh so subtlely warned her not to talk to the Feds, or else!): to extract a promise from her that she wouldn't talk to the Feds, which is what he got. In other words, Doug hid behind a smooth, cool, calm, charming and collected nature in order to exploit Claire and take advantage of her at a most vulnerable moment; after being traumatized by the robbery to quit her job and the bank. Yet, it's true that Claire allowed herself to be taken advantage of by Doug, (Out of fright, naivete, or willful ignorance, or due to being so desperately lonely and anxious to snag a guy that she'd fall for a professional criminal and armed felon such as Doug), and to fall for his lies and deceitful behavior, becoming an access to his crimes, after the fact. No sympathy or respect for Doug and Claire, on my part. Having said all of the above, my opinion is that Claire should've gone to Agt. Frawley for help immediately when she realized who Doug was, and that she was in way over her head, instead of continuing to abet him. So saying, it was a mistake for Claire to accept a date with Doug, a total stranger (and criminal) in the first place. Had she been a bit smarter, she would've been able to sense that Doug was a rather shady character and really not a nice guy, not gotten involved with him in the first place, and thus saved herself a great deal of trouble and heartache.
Krista was clearly no angel, but neither was Claire, as it turned out.
Frankly, I think the movie "The Town" would've been a better movie than it was if the ending had been different. The FBI instructed Claire to have Doug come to her apartment for a reason; so they could nab him and send him to jail. Unfortunately, Claire did something else illegal; she tipped Doug off to the Feds' presence in her apartment with the "Sunny days" code, and warned him away, thus helping Doug escape justice. Claire should've made a deal with the Feds to help organize a "sting" operation similar to the way in which pedophiles are often caught, to catch Doug and send him to jail, where he belonged.
All of the above having been said, I believe that, even though it's fiction, as are the characters and events, send a wrong message: That it's OK to rob banks and armored cars, endanger the lives of innocent bank employees and customers in the process, and to cause innocent people to be out a lot of money that they don't deserve to lose. The fact that banks are insured against robbery, and that money's certainly replaceable doesn't excuse this kind of crime, where there are victims.
Moreover, the film also sends a message that one doesn't have to be held accountable for his/her actions and behavior, that criminal behavior is OK, as long as one needs or wants to do it, and that it's OK to thumb one's nose at and make a total dupe out of the law enforcement people who're just doing their assigned job of cracking down on crime and taking perpetrators of crime down, as needed.
Last edited by mplo; 06-07-2011 at 11:11 AM..