Sunday, February 1, 2009

Good Bad Guys

So, what makes Tom so cool? Is he even cool? I mean, in the end, he dies, and it’s not cool to die. There are parts of Tom that are cool, though.

Following the dissident cool model, Tom has a criminal independence that would probably be appealing to a lot of people. He is able to do whatever he wants, no matter what the laws are. As a kid, Tom wants money; he takes items to sell to Putty Nose. He may have been disciplined by his father and harped on by his older brother for his actions, but he turns the situation around into something he controls through his submission. When his father is about to whip him, Tom asks, “You want ‘em up or down this time.” He doesn’t fight to get away or beg for his father’s forgiveness; he throws his father’s authority into his face by turning the situation into something TOM permits.

Tom doesn’t change as and adult. He is still into crime and getting what he wants. Although, as we watched the movie, I wondered what it is Tom really wants. He doesn’t want money; he doesn’t want girls (until he meets Gwen); he just seems to want the next job. This reminds me of the Joker from The Dark Knight. As you can see in the video, the Joker doesn’t want anything that normal criminals want; he just wants the thrill of the job. I believe that this is the same for Tom. Save for the fact that he is a bully, Tom’s disinterest in the usual motives for crime makes him different, puzzling, cool.

Another characteristic about Tom that I found cool was his loyalty to Matt. These two are always together. Every time someone makes a comment about Tom being alone, because he was the person who headed all of the jobs, he responds, “I’m always alone when I am with Matt” so as to include his friend. He takes revenge on Putty Nose years after the man abandoned them following a job gone wrong. The final show of loyalty to Matt was when Tom stormed the enemy’s headquarters towards the end of the movie to make them pay for Matt’s death. While this wasn’t a major theme of the movie, I found his loyalty to Matt helped me sympathize for Tom, an otherwise heartless man. Although it is an extreme example, Tom’s actions reflect those of Davy Jones from Pirates of the Caribbean. Just as Tom’s actions are invoked by the loss of Matt, Davy Jones wrecks havoc on the seas because he lost his love. This loyalty of the two men helps the audience sympathize with them a little, despite the terrible things they had done.


  1. You're right, Amanda: dying is NOT cool. Not cool unless it's a freak-death, anyway, like being chopped in half by a light-saber or something of the like.

    Yeah, I thought Tom's loyalty to Matt was weirdly sweet. Bros gotta stick together, I suppose.

    I like how you related Tom to Davy Jones and the Joker, two characters that I do love, indeed. Rock on!

  2. Though I didn't see you make this connection, you have the foundations for the strongest argument I've seen yet that the Joker and Tom are similar - they both take control of their environments. It was astute that you pointed out that Tom tries to make the situation about him and what he wants, making it seem like he's giving permission for things to happen around him.

    Good entry!