“I’ll see you again, on this side or the other.” – A Review of the film “The Town” (contains some spoilers)

I’m going to let you all in on a little secret.  I used to have a massive crush on Ben Affleck.  I mean MASSIVE!  Just to give you an idea of the intense LOVE I had for this man . . . up until very recently, I had a rather large poster over my bed that may or may not have looked something like this . . .

 . . . and a smaller one in my living room, that may or may not have looked something like this . . .

Then something happened.  A little movie came out.  For argument’s sake, lets just call that movie . . . Gigli.

All of the sudden, it was considered less than “cool” to have a “massive crush” on Ben Affleck.  Friends who used to be fairly supportive of my little obsession, started teasing me mercilessly about it.  And whenever I had boys over (not that THEY ever really liked those posters anyway), my fandom was a subject of constant ridicule.

And yet, I stuck with my guns, and hung on to those posters . . . for a little while longer, at least.  Then, shortly after I moved back to New Jersey, I sold them to a lovely gay couple at my Aunt’s Summer Yard Sale.  I like to believe they are in a better place now . . . one free of judgment and Gigli-related abuse.

Now, I have yet to see Ben Affleck’s directorial debut film, Gone Baby Gone . . .

. . . but I’ve read enough reviews and watched enough award shows to know that (1) it was pretty spectacular; and (2) much of its spectacular-ness can be attributed to what I would like to call “Ben’s Mad Directorial Skills.”

So, when the trailers for The Town started showing up in theaters, and I saw that it was, not only directed by, but also starred my former love,Ben Affleck.  And when I saw that the cast included the Dapper Don Draper himself, Jon Hamm . . .

. . . the enigmatic, Jeremy Renner . . .

 . . . and Gossip Girl‘s Blake Lively, playing a strung out, much dirtier, ho bag than Serena van der Woodsen could EVER be . . .

. . . I just knew that I HAD to see this film!  And, let me tell you, I am THRILLED I did!

Based on a novel by Chuck Hogan, entitled Prince of Thieves . . .

(which the publishers have since cleverly renamed The Town, and slapped Ben Affleck’s pretty, but gritty, mug on the cover)

. . . The Town follows career criminal, Doug McRay (played by Affleck), as he tries repeatedly to “go straight.”  But when you live in a town like Charlestown, Massachusetts — which churns out bank robbers and crooks, like Yale University churns out lawyers and politicians — and when your best friends are THESE GUYS . . .

 . . . “going straight” is easier said than done. 

The film begins, as most films of this genre tend to begin, with a “routine” bank robbery.  And it only takes a few minutes, for us viewers to realize just what good criminals, McCray and his crew are.  From the creepy face-obscuring masks they wear on their mugs, to the inside men who disable the security cameras immediately upon their arrival, to the way they torch the place upon leaving, to destroy all the evidence, it’s clear that these are NO amateurs. 

That is one UGLY nun!

Yet, despite all of their painstaking preparation and skill, McCray’s crew runs into a little snag during the heist, and is forced to take a hostage.  They decide on Assistant Bank Manager, Claire Keesey (played by Rebecca Hall).

 They blindfold Claire, and pack her into the getaway car, but, ultimately, let her go.  Afterward, some of the crew express concern about Claire, and her ability to identify them to the FBI.  These concerns are intensified when a look at Claire’s driver’s license (which they stole) reveals that she lives in the neighboring town, just a few blocks away from the crew’s headquarters.  McCray’s best friend, the hotheaded, but loyal-to-a-fault, Jem Coughlin (played by Jeremy Renner), whose idea it was to take Claire as a hostage in the first place, offers to “take care of her.”  McCray, however, doesn’t want to see Claire get hurt (if such a thing could be avoided) and offers to take care of the situation, himself.

So, McCray stalks Claire a bit, and figures out that she leads a fairly solitary life (no quirky “Best Gal Pal” in this movie).  Eventually, he follows her into a laundromat (where all the cutest movie couples meet), charms her a bit, and asks her out for a drink.

Well, it doesn’t take a genius to figure out what happens next. Of course, they fall in love!  (Duh!)  But what’s interesting about the way this plotline is acted and directed, is that, while certainly cliche, the relationship between Doug and Claire doesn’t seem all that contrived.  Affleck and Hall have a real natural chemistry.  Right away, you can see what appeals to these two characters about eachother. 

Claire is quietly unassuming, and incredibly straitlaced, without seeming judgmental or self-righteous.   She gardens during her spare time, and volunteers at the local Boys and Girls Club.  Doug, for all his tough beginnings, and dark past, is surprisingly shy and sweet.  He listens to Claire when she speaks, and genuinely expresses a desire to take care of her. 

And I’ll be darned if this odd couple didn’t end up having a remarkably normal courtship!  They go out to dinner together.  They take walks in the park.  They go out for coffee.  He buys her a pretty diamond necklace (probably with dirty money).  They have nice gentle sex in Claire’s Pottery Barn-decorated bedroom.  Bank robberies and hostages-takings aside, Doug and Claire are probably a lot like you and your significant other.

Suddenly, Doug’s desire to get out of the “racket,” becomes more than just an empty platitude.  Now, he really means it.  Because, now, he really has something, or, rather, SOMEONE to lose if he fails.  Now, if he could just get through this “One Last Job”  (well . . . maybe two).

It may sound odd, but, believe me when I say this: The Town is the perfect date movie.  It’s got enough action, chase scenes, explosions, and crook versus cop shoot-em-ups to please even the manliest of men.  At the same time, it boasts an intelligent script, complex likeable characters, some VERY pretty faces, and a surprisingly adorable romance, all of which are sure to satisfy even the girliest of females.

In addition to great plotting, exciting action, and a heartwarming romance between its two leads, The Town also offers a very strong supporting cast.  Jon Hamm is wonderful, as the tough-as-nails, gruff, and very-un Don Draper-like FBI Agent, Adam Frawley.  A lesser actor could have made this a very forgetable role.  But Hamm’s charm, intelligence, wit and natural grace, help make the Frawley character more likeable than a cop in a film about a criminal-with-a-heart-of-gold has any right to be.

Speaking of characters that you like more than you should, Jeremy Renner does a remarkable job of making Jem Coughlin a three-dimensional and tragic figure.  In many ways, Renner’s character is very similar to the one Affleck himself inhabited back when he played opposite Matt Damon in the spectacular Good Will Hunting (except Renner’s character is armed and dangerous).  Unlike McRay, Coughlin has resigned himself to a life of crime, running from the cops, and being relatively poor.  And yet, despite his knowledge that his best friend is smarter than he is, and perhaps destined for a better future, Coughlin still remains loyal to McRay.  He would literally do anything for him, even if that meant going to jail or losing his life.  Though you might not agree with his lifestyle choices, you’ve gotta respect a guy like that.

And then there’s Blake Lively, who absolutely impressed me with her portrayal of strung out ho-bag / baby mama, Krista Coughlin.

I’m SERIOUS!  This was NOT an easy role to play.  In the wrong hands, this role could have been at the very least, annoying, and at the worst, positively laughable.  But Blake brings Krista to life.  Her Boston accent is authentic.  Her breathy intonations, and pathetic attempts at seduction, speak to a life spent on one’s backside, screwing crooks, popping pills, and inhaling toxic fumes.  Blake more than held her own, during her scenes with Affleck, Hamm, and Renner. 

And you know what else?  Blake was FUNNY!  A few of her lines had me laughing out loud.  I certainly wasn’t expecting that.

Of course, no crime caper would be complete without Pete Postlewaite, of The Usual Suspects fame.

There’s just something about this guy’s face and demeanor — a hidden menace, perhaps.  Whatever, it is, the dude always manages to scare the stuffing out of me, even when he is doing nothing more exciting than cutting the thorns off a rose.

In short, The Town is highly entertaining and intriguing film.  The acting is nearly flawless, the plotting is tight, the action is high octane, and the directing is commendable.  Its enough to make me almost wish that I never sold those Ben Affleck posters .  . . almost.

The Town is in theaters now.  Will YOU see it?

[www.juliekushner.com]

13 Comments

Filed under Ben Affleck, Movie Review, The Town

13 responses to ““I’ll see you again, on this side or the other.” – A Review of the film “The Town” (contains some spoilers)

  1. imaginarymen

    OK so I saw this tonight on – are you ready? A DATE! BWAH! I hadn’t even read this recap – I just wanted to see it and thought it was a “boy movie”!!

    First off – I am very sad you no longer have those Ben posters 😦 Esp that first one. Mommy Like!! (it also CMU bc I once sold hot Brad Pitt posters to gay guys in LA who bought my dishes when I moved!) I too was a Ben Girl for many years. Until Bennifer I and its more boring incarnation Bennifer II. He has the jawline and bone structure that I love and he can be so funny. And lately w/ his short ‘do – there are photos of him and Brandon Flowers in which I do a double take. So you know – my interest is peaked again ;-0

    I enjoyed the movie, I thought he was great, I liked the relationship w/ Claire, the ones w/ his buddies, the self-loathing one with the TRULY impressive Blake Lively who I really didn’t think had it in her. In fact I read reviews raving about her and I was like “she was in 2 little scenes – big whoop” until the end when she ties up the story. Color me impressed.

    Jon Hamm is awesome. I hope he does more movies so I can see more of his sexy jawline and total awesomeness. I was also happy not EVERYONE had a Boston accent. This is what I love about Affleck (and my Matty) and their Boston movies: they keep it real and relatable. From little details (in GWH calling the trains the T when any non-Boston screenwriters would have called it the “subway” and state cops “staties”), to big ones – like the accents. In some ways I thought Dougie was Chuckie 15 years later and without Will there to keep him balanced.

    I also thought there were some truly great edge-of-your-seat moments and stuff I did not see coming at all. I think “Ben’s Mad Directorial Skills” (LMAO!!) are pretty great, I hope he does more and even tries to move away a bit from Boston, although if he stays there, I wouldn’t complain.

    And no recap by you, or comment by me is complete w/o a mention of his HOT AS HELL WORK OUT SCENE!!! Holy Abs Affleck!!!! I think for that scene ALONE he deserves a place back on your walls!

    • Now, if you think you are going to get away without giving me all the details on your DATE, you are SORELY mistaken. (Don’t worry, I won’t make you do it here on my blog review of “The Town.” I will just continue to bug you via e-mail, until I get the play-by-play :)).

      I am SO GLAD you loved the movie! DOUBLE TROUBLE eye candy (Ben and Jon), great acting, Ben’s Mad Directorial Skills, and an exciting and intelligent plot to boot — what’s not to love? I was also highly intrigued by your “insiders” view on the Boston Local aspects of the film. (Did I ever tell you, you have no accent? As a NY / NJ girl, who has been teased many times for HER accent, color ME impressed on THAT. :))

      I loved the thick authentic-sounding Boston accents on display in both The Town and Good Will Hunting. Granted, sometimes, I had to perk my ears up, to understand what the characters were actually saying, but I loved it nonetheless. And you bring up a good point, about the Director’s (Ben’s) decision NOT to give Jon Hamm’s character an accent. It just further cemented his position as an outsider in “The Town.”

      I also like what you said about Dougie being Good Will Hunting’s “Chuckie From the Future,” especially considering that Dougie led a fairly straight and narrow lifestyle, until he developed that nasty drug problem in his early twenties :). There were actually quite a few parallels between the two films that I noticed. (I kinda wish I was still college, so that I can write a term paper on the subject. ;)).

      I know we’ve discussed it before, but I was glad to be reminded that being a former (and now Born Again) Ben fan is yet another thing we have in common (along with selling old fangirl posters to gay men, apparently). That work out scene was INSANE! I can’t wait until they put it on YouTube, so that I can make it into a GIF. 🙂

      See, Blake Lively WAS good, in this, wasn’t she? 🙂 Don’t worry, I’m not going to even TRY to make you watch Gossip Girl. ;)) Because, you see, I’m a Gossip Girl fan, and, honestly, I didn’t think she had it in her either, until I saw this film. I guess she sure showed us!

      Now, Mad Men on the other hand . . . I’m still not giving up on that one . . . 🙂

  2. imaginarymen

    Don’t get me started on Boston accents!!

    http://imaginarymen.wordpress.com/2010/01/09/no-really-we-dont-all-talk-that-way/

    My one big qualm was sometimes it was hard to make out the dialogue – a combo of accents, mumbling and either actors or Ben’s Mad Directorial Skills! There were a few scenes I was going “huh? What did he just say?”

    I will likely have to blog about this movie now – but since I don’t recap it will be more like “Ben Affleck deserves your love again. And looks good shirtless w/ fake tats on his fiiiiine back!” ;-0

  3. R

    Hi girls, I am waaaay more sad than either of you ladies!! I was never a particularly big Ben fan – it was Joaquin who had me behaving in a very un-married-lady-ish way. I’m so relieved that faded – it started when he calls Nicole Kidman Mrs Maretto in To Die For, continued all the way through Gladiator and Walk The Line, and ended when he was really fat and beardy. This was a very private crush as I had no idea (luckily) that I could waste loads of time on the net talking to other ladies in my position!!
    THEN last Saturday I suggested my husband and I go to The Town….oh my LORD that boy is so gorgeous. My favourite scene is the one where he is wearing that crisp white t-shirt in the garden, talking to Claire. I thought, This just is NOT fair. I am a married woman!! And my husband is a sweetie and very cute too but this is all irrelevant…So I rang my friend Emma in the hope that she would tell me how ridiculous I was being. But…have you guessed it? SHE has come down with a bad case of Ben Crush too – she saw the movie the same night as I did, and also brought her husband! The hilarious thing is that both our husbands really enjoyed the movie but once we each mentioned the thing about how cute Ben Affleck was, both our husbands inexplicably started finding holes in the movie…mine would wake up for the next few days and instead of “Good morning sweetheart” it would be “And another thing…!” and then would have a few minutes’ rant about how the whole film was a very bad influence on young guys who might be a bit directionless. He reckoned they would now think that robbing banks was a great idea. (He is very straightlaced really.) And he felt that John Hamm’s character was giving the message that FBI guys are bad, and threaten single moms. My friend Emma’s husband, on the other hand, was a bit more creative in his condemnation – he said that if Emma fancied Ben Affleck’s character, she would do well to remember that she was in fact saying she fancied the scumbag skanks that roam the streets of Dublin robbing and murdering…even though I do like movie bad guys, there’s a limit to how much badness you can like in real life….so I had to agree with him. Emma’s favourite scene was also the white t-shirt moment in the garden – and her husband said there was no way a skanky knacker would ever have a t-shirt that white. Well, in my opinion they might, but they would not look like that!!
    Anyway it was very helpful talking to Emma and I now realise that i am not alone – but I still think I am sad!!!

    • Thank you so much for stopping by, Roisin! Your post made me smile, and LOL so hard, I almost spit out my morning coffee! 🙂 And you and your friend Emma most definitely are not alone. The male species can simply never understand the joys of (mostly) harmless fangirling. 😉

      A guy can look at an actress on television, or in a movie, and say “she’s hot” or “nice rack.” He may even . . . ahem . . . when he looks at her image. But it generally doesn’t go much beyond that. Us fangirls? Now, THAT is a different story entirely . . .

      We analyze scenes featuring our men (like that FABULOUS one you mentioned here, with Ben, in his crisp white shirt, in “The Town.”) We admire photographs of them, and get into deep discussions about which poses and outfits suit them best. We research and memorize their film and personal biographies. We refer to the characters they play by their first names, as if they are real people (which, to us, they ARE!).

      Good fangirling is an art form, Roisin. And we are all VERY ACCOMPLISHED ARTISTS! 🙂

  4. R

    Hi mrs, That’s hilarious!! I’m so glad my… ahem…”harmless activity” has a name…fangirling!! And that I may be quite good at it! Wow…I can add that to my CV! I’m not so sure that men leave it at a lower level than us…they can get really stalker-y…we keep the stalking in our minds!! (On the whole.) By the way, on the subject of poses and clothes etc…in my single days I used to have a rule – if shoes were bad, he was automatically out. There was also a rule (nothing to do with shoes or clothes) called the Girth Rule. If, when you were having a snog with a guy (that’s kissing in Ireland), and you put your arms around him, if he was thinner than us, thereby breaking the girth rule, then he was definitely out!!

  5. Julio

    Hi girls, first of all, let me tell you that I just found this blog cause I was looking for Ben’s last scene when he says: I’ll see you again, on this side or the other, and honestly I’m happy I found this blog. It is so funny read about girls crush on Ben Affleck (by the way, sorry if my English sounds kinda funny but Im from Peru) anyway. I saw this movie with my girlfriend, her sister and her mom. I bet you are thinking what a nice boyfriend, WRONG! they just came without notice to her place and they decided to go to the cine without telling me so the least they could do was to let me choose the movie.

    I know this is a Ben’s fan blog, but if you liked this movie you should watch “Heat” with Al Paccino and Robert de Niro for a real bank robber movie, anyway. The movie was great but I think the soundtrack was a real master piece. Well, at the end of the movie, the three of them started to talk like: OMG I would fall in love with Bens, He looks so hot now, those abs, and so on and so forth, and I was like. YO! what about me. Anyway, my only consolation for me was a beautiful surprised named: Rebecca Hall. She is really beautiful. Anyway, give your hubbys a break, they deserve it, we are good looking guys but we know we cant compete with your crush on Bens. But once thing is real, we got you so we should be better than that dude named Ben 😉 Just kidding. Nice talking to you ladies and keep it up with the blog.

    Greetings from Peru

    • Hey Julio! Thank you so much for stopping by and offering up the “male perspective.” I don’t get too many male commenters on my blog. (Though I can’t imagine why. ;))

      So, I appreciate your taking the time to speak out on behalf of all the husbands and boyfriends out there, who might be feeling a bit of discomfort when watching “The Town” with their, forgive the expression, “better halves.” 🙂 Fear not, Julio, Fangirling is a (mostly) harmless pasttime. And remember, you are the ones your ladies are taking to bed each night, not Ben. (He has his own lady. :)).

      And I agree Julio. Rebecca Hall is a very beautiful and talented actress.

      I’ve heard many make comparisons between The Town and Heat. I absolutely adore Al Pacino and Robert DeNiro. So, I’ll definitely have to check out Heat. Thanks for the recommendation!

  6. It was the best movie of the decade. I can’t stop listening to the soundtrack! I only wish the trailer music would be released already

  7. Pingback: When Boob Tube Meets Silver Screen – 5 films that could probably “cut it” on the small screen | TV Recappers Anonymous

  8. mplo

    I think that “The Town” conveys the message that pretty-looking people can do whatever they want and not suffer any real consequences for their arrogance and wrongdoing.

    The whole idea that The Town is about redemption is a lot of bunk. First of all, Doug leaves Claire behind when he skips town for Florida for at least two reasons; He got what he wanted out of her; a promise not to turn him into the Feds, and Doug is also on the lam from the law, especially after having killed Fergie and Rusty for having threatened Claire. Why is it okay to be a vigilante and take the law into one’s own hands and kill people just because they threaten to do Heaven-knows-what to one’s girlfriend, or whoever ? It’s not, in my book.

    Doug will more than likely be hunted down and caught by the Feds sooner or later, and either sent to prison or gunned down by the law, and at some level, both he and Claire know that.

    Also, Claire was wrong and stupid to tip Doug off to the Feds, and to take stolen money (which Doug left her from the Fenway Park heist), and spend it on the renovation of a seedy town hockey rink, instead of arranging to turn the money into the authorities, anonymously.

    Neither Doug or Claire have anything between the ears, really. Sure, they’ve both got hot bodies with good looking faces, but they have nothing between the ears.

  9. mplo

    This is something that still continues to dog me, even though I’ve written about it so many times. Why, oh why do so many people fall for such a hyped-up, cheap, overrated, trashy movie such as The Town, and, more to the point, refuse to accept dissenting opinions on it? It beats me…I don’t know!

    I admit to one thing, however: The Town left me rooting for the cops and the FBI, especially Agt. Adam Frawley and wanting them to catch Doug MacRay and his men and send them to jail for their crimes, and to have Claire either criminally prosecuted herself for being an accessory to Doug’s crimes and for tipping him Doug off with a “sunny days” code and enabling him to elude the law, or at least put on some sort of probation for her bullshit. Sure, I sympathized with Claire at first, because she was the victim of an armed bank robbery, which wasn’t her fault, but I completely lost my sympathy for her when she not only got involved, wholesale, in a romance with Doug, but refused to sever all contacts with him even after she learned through Agt. Frawley who Doug MacRay really was, and what he was up to.. Unlike most people, who are sympathetic with Ben Affleck’s character in that film, and with Claire, I am not.

    Why should I be sympathetic to either Doug or Claire? The idea that Doug MacRay wanted to change and redeem himself through Claire is utter bullshit, especially after he engaged in an act of vigilantism by taking the law into his own hands, going back to Charlestown, and gunning down Rusty and Fergie just because they threatened Doug’s ladygirl Claire with physical harm. Come on now! Doug MacRay’s still a criminal and he was not the decent guy he came across as when he and Claire met “by chance” in a C-Town laundromat.

    Doug MacRay, like his friends and partners in crime, are not only skilled, disciplined and ruthless in their quest for quick money through parasitic behaviors such as armed robbery, and who’d unquestionably kill or seriously injure people enough to put them in the hospital if they’re considered obstacles to what they want, but Doug knows how to come across as a nice guy, when he’s really not. He may not be crazy like his best friend and righthand man, Jem, but he’s a sociopath and a person of unprovoked violence just the same. The fact that he came across as such a nice, charming guy and deceived Claire by pretending to be an upstanding, law-abiding citizen, when he’s really not, is more than disgusting…it’s part of his criminal behavior. As for Claire, the fact that she took Doug’s bait and rose to it is pathetic indeed.

    If Doug had really wanted to change, imo, he would’ve turned himself and his guys in, come forward, negociated with the Feds for some protection for him and Claire, and stopped robbing banks once and for all. Doug left for Florida without Claire for two reasons:

    A) Doug macRay was an armed felon and wanted fugitive who’d been on the lam from the law for quite awhile, plus he’d just killed Fergie and Rusty.

    B) Doug had gotten what he really wanted out of Claire all along; a promise from her not to turn him in, which he got.

    How can so many people be so naive or willfully stupid as to miss that?

    Also, if Doug wanted to redeem himself, he would’ve come forward, served his time, and
    after a prison term, found honest ways to raise the funding for the renovation for the C-Town hockey rink himself, instead of using Claire Keesey as a go-between. What people don’t realize is that Doug wasn’t a nice guy…even to Claire, even though most people firmly believe that. The fact that he deceived her, seduced her and made a total fool out of her was vicious. The fact that Claire acted like a poor, confused, dumb-assed adolescent and allowed herself to be manipulated, made a fool out of and taken advantage of by Doug is pitiful, but she doesn’t deserve pity, due to the fact that she helped the very guy who turned her life upside down and caused her a ton of grief in the first place escape the law.

    Now that I think of it, I wouldn’t cared one iota if Doug and Claire had either ended up in jail, or been shot and thrown into the Charles or the Mystic River. An awful thing for me to say, but that’s how disgusted I am with this kind of thing.

    As for Kristina, well, I don’t like her sordid lifestyle or behavior (drug and alcohol addiction, sleeping around with too many men, and the fact that she was in the business herself by helping to book hotel rooms and get costumes for Doug and his men, and being a drug mule for Fergie and Rusty), but i’ll say this: I feel kind of sorry for Krista, in a way, because she had far fewer choices than Claire; she’d grown up with Doug and Jem, who, like many other men, abused and exploited her for their own ends. Krista’s daughter, Shyne, still an infant, caught in the middle of all this shit, was innocent, and I felt sorry for her, too.

    I’m so sick of people saying that what the white collar criminals (not defending them, btw) are worse than guys like Doug MacRay and his gang, because it’s unrelated, and not true.

    Neither the book Prince of Thieves, on which The Town was based, or the movie, make any effort to get at causes of bank robbery and other crimes, and the circumstances under which Doug and his men had grown up under. Moreover, the movie asks the audience to sympathize with Doug MacRay and his men, as well as Claire, who acted stupidly enough to allow Doug to take advantage of her, and who became an accessory to his crimes, while considering law enforcement officials assigned to bring criminals like MacRay and company to their knees and have them locked up in penetentiaries once and for all.

    Dez was a smart (he was college-educated and had a regular job) but stupid guy; he was pretty much just along for the ride, and did what he was told to do by the gang, and yet, at the same time, he seemed to be pretty much their victim, as well, if one gets the drift. Dez allowed himself to be taken for a ride, also.

    At least the book fleshes out the characters and spends more time on Dez and Krista, and doesn’t focus on the viewpoint of Doug and Jem so much, plus the book takes a far less sympathetic outlook towards Doug and his men.

    Sorry, folks, but I can’t bring myself to like this film, except for the very beginning.

  10. mplo

    I also might add that
    The Town also normalizes the Stockholm Syndrome and its inverse, the Lima Syndrome. One doesn’t have to be in any of the helping professions (i. e. psychiatrist, psychologist, social worker, etc.) to realize that, while a person who’s taken hostage and falls victim to the Stockholm Syndrome (i. e. falling in love with her captor) or the Lima Syndrome (i. e. accepting the overtures of her captor, who falls in love with her), presumably has a better chance of survival in a hostage situation, the victim, in either case, is turned into a person who is at her captor’s beck and call, is manipulated and controlled by him, and is essentially brainwashed into believing that her captor cares enough about her not to kill her, and that he’ll always treat her kindly and not abuse her. This couldn’t be farther from the truth, especially because, all too often, the victim is isolated from her friends and loved ones, and begins to blame law officials and other authorities for her troubles and turn against them rather than her captor who committed this criminal act against her in the first place.
    That being said, I’d say that common sense is required, in order to at least minimize the possibility of having something like that happen to him or her; Just because one meets a charming guy or gal, doesn’t mean that they’re necessarily out for any good, particularly if one is in an area that’s known to be tough, with a violent history to it. Anybody who meets someone that they’ve never seen before, no matter where they are, or how charming they may be, should be much more careful, and not be so quick to accept dates with someone or get into things with people they don’t know that well.

    Claire was a woman who used no common sense what. so. ever, and she ended up having a breakdown when it finally backfired on her. Hey…if I’d known her in real life, I’d tell her..”Hey..don’t you understand that if you play with fire, you’re going to get burned? Think about that!”

    Supposed the bank manager hadn’t been as angelic-looking as Claire, or had been someone with a learning/developmental disability such as autism, Aspergers, dyslexia, ADD/ADHD, or a seizure disorder? Do you honestly believe that Doug and his men would’ve even acted the least bit charming and sympathetic towards her? I don’t think so. Doug would’ve allowed Jem to do whatever he wanted with her, and she probably would’ve been gang-raped or “offed” by Doug and his posse of armed criminals. Don’t kid yourselves, guys!

    Doug, contrary to how he came across to Claire, wasn’t a nice guy, even to her. He was playing her, and anybody who thinks that Doug and his men wouldn’t have killed her if she’d resisted and refused to comply with them is just kidding themselves.

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