I’m pretty much a lonely voice in the wilderness here, as I feel differently about The Town than many, if not most people do. For starters, I read Chuck Hogan’s novel, Prince of Thieves, on which The Town was based, and I liked the book far better than the movie, which seemed like an extended made-for-TV and very cartoon-like film.
The Town had the potential for being a good, wholesome film, or even one of the all-time greats regarding movies, but fell woefully short of that potential for the following reasons:
A) The scenes in the North End and Fenway Park were grossly overblown, with too much exploding on the screen, and the most unrealistic-looking car chases and car crashes and shoot-outs. Nobody could realistically survive those car crashes and shoot-outs.
B) The fact that Ben Affleck and his assistant producer(s) wanted to cut the film down from four hours is totally understandable, but too much slip-shod, slap-happy editing was done, cutting too much out of the film and leaving too many unconnected dots, which, had they been connected, might’ve made this film more credible.
C) The Boston accents, particularly on the part of Ben Affleck, were extremely overdone.
D) The characters, overall, were paper-thin, and the chemistry between Affleck and Hall, was paltry, at best, and rather forced.
E) The scene where Doug and Jem break into a housing project apartment where a couple of punks who’d thrown bottles at Claire as she was walking through the housing project to work resided, beat up and permanently crippled both of them, was not in the book, and it was an unnecessary scene, to boot. Roughing the two punks up a little bit would’ve been understandable, maybe, but Doug and Jem went too far when they permanently crippled them both, and then ordered them to “get out of Charlestown.”
F) The ending of the movie, was rather saccharine..and phony, to boot. It would’ve been better if the ending had been different; Doug being caught and sent to prison, where he belonged, and Claire being criminally prosecuted, or put on some sort of probation herself for having abetted Doug and helped him get away.
I also might add that I’m somewhat bothered by the message that The Town seems to send; that it’s OK to rob banks and armored cars, terrorize and endanger the lives and safety of innocent bank employees and customers at gunpoint, to abet these kinds of actions and behaviors, and to make total dupes of law enforcement officials who are trying their best to do what they’ve been assigned to do; bring guys like Doug MacRay and his men to justice.
I also might add that the movie could’ve done with far less of the Doug/Claire romance, and further developed the characters and the bank heists. Too much emphasis was placed on the Doug/Claire romance, and not enough on the heists. I liked the beginning of the film and the first heist, but after that, it began to rapidly go downhill for me.
One is supposed to sympathize with and root for Doug because he managed to get away, and for Claire for having abetted Doug and helped him escape justice in this film, but I feel that I really cannot do so. Imo, Claire should’ve been more on her guard and not readily accepted a date from a perfect stranger, especially after being traumatized enough by the robbery and abduction to quit her job as a bank manager.
Claire was also wrong to continue to have contact with Doug and to abet him in his crimes even after learning the truth about him, and after the Feds learned of the Doug/Claire relationship through a recorded phone conversation between them, and for keeping the duffel bag full of stolen money that Doug left for her, instead of turning it into the police, at least anonymously. My opinion of The Town was formed after watching it several times-a couple of times in the theatres, and then afew more times, on DVD.
The idea of a professional armed robber who’s also a wanted fugitive falling in love with, and defending a poor, scared, vulnerable female bank manager that he and his men robbed at gunpoint and then took as a hostage, from thugs who threw bottles at her is highly, highly implausible to me. That would never, ever happen in real life. I know the film is fiction, but come on…there’s got to be some reality in there, which seemed to be totally lacking in this film.