The four thieves in Ben Affleck's new film "The Town" give new meaning to the term accessorize. During a key heist, the quartet, headed by Affleck's character Doug MacRay, wear nuns' habits as a disguise and, for good measure, carry machine guns. This riveting juxtaposition is the central image of the movie's black and white movie poster. But is it making Catholics see red?
"The decision to use this image was made by the studio, in consultation with the filmmakers," said Jessica Zacholl, a spokesperson for Warner Bros. Pictures. "It was chosen for its power and impact, but it was never the intention to offend anyone."
An informal survey taken yesterday at Franciscan University of Steubenville, in Ohio – a conservative Catholic institution with a student population of 2,400 – generated a different assessment.
Bob Rice, professor of theology at Franciscan, distributed copies of the poster to 18 students in his Youth Ministry course and noted the comments. "There were some audible gasps," he said. "Students who had seen the trailer, which they had not found offensive, were surprised by the poster. They felt the poster was trying to shock."