Sunday, January 17, 2016

The Ending Of The Town Explained. What's Up With The Orange?

"No matter how much you change, you still have to pay the price for the things you've done. So I got a long road. But I know I'll see you again. This side or the other." - Doug MacRay in The Town

The Town is a brilliant heist film released in 2010 and starring Ben Affleck, Rebecca Hall, Jeremy Renner, Blake Lively and Jon Hamm. Renner, in particular, was a chameleon in it.  He can be a baby-faced nobody drinking in a bar one moment and a blood-thirsty hooligan in another. His nomination by the Academy Award for his work was very well deserved.

A lot of people seem to be confused by the ending of the film. I'm surprised because the ending was very clear to me. It's not the sad ending that many viewers seem to be buying into. The ending scene showed Claire digging up in her garden a duffel bag that contained a stack of cash, a short note, and an orange. In that same scene, we can hear a voice-over of Doug narrating the contents of the note.

Here's what I took from that scene. Doug was giving Claire a choice. So it's not exactly a sad ending. Claire can choose between the money and the orange. He's basically telling Claire: "Here's some cash. You are better off with it than with me." Then Claire rummages through the bag as if she was expecting to find something else and lo and behold, there's the orange fruit. Remember that during the movie, while the two were still in speaking terms, Doug was coaxing Claire to leave Charlestown with him. Doug put the orange in there as a sign that he is still wishing to see Claire. The ball now is in Claire's court.

In the beginning of the movie, Doug also mentioned Tangerine which is a real place in Orange County, Florida. Florida was the place that Doug has been planning all along to go to once the final heist was over. So there you go. Tangerine. Orange County. Florida. That's the ending. It just wasn't shown in the final cut of the film.

Is it possible that Doug and Claire never saw each other again after the last scene in the film? Of course. The end also implied that Claire used the money to improve the dilapidated hockey rink in Charlestown. She chose the cash over the orange. But this doesn't mean she can't choose both. Come to think of it. What's stopping her from spending the money and then flying over to Florida when Doug's case goes cold? Not much unless the FBI tracks her every move for the rest of her life.
Image credit: Warner Brothers
And here's an interesting piece of trivia. The Town is an adaptation of a novel called Prince of Thieves by Chuck Hogan. However, there's a huge difference between the ending in the novel and the ending of the movie. In the novel, Doug dies in the arms of Claire. Actually, Affleck and his crew filmed this scene but when they screen-tested the two endings, test audiences preferred the ending wherein Doug survives. So that's what was shown in the final theatrical version.

And in another note, when the credits started rolling, they played the song Jolene by Ray Lamontagne which happens to be one of my favorite songs. It was the perfect song for the movie, considering the lyrics.