Gone Baby Gone
Running Time: 114 minutes
Starring: Casey Affleck, Michelle Monaghan, Ed Harris, Morgan Freeman
Directed By: Ben Affleck
Rating: 7.5 out of 10
A pair of detectives searches for a kidnapped local girl and in doing so head down a road that might have no return from.
The kidnapping of a child is one of the most vile and shocking crimes imaginable. It can no doubt bring a community together but more often than not it is left shattered as the story ends in tragedy. We find ourselves following the story of two Boston private detectives hired on to the case of a local kidnapped child named Amanda McCready. They must sift through the seedy underbelly of the city and look in all the places of the community that only they can get to. It is in this search that they find out when you look in the dark shadows of the world sometimes there are monsters lurking. The search for Amanda will test the detectives in ways they never saw coming and may change them forever.
I found this movie totally captivating from the start. A nicely filmed intro of regular and not so regular Bostonians living their lives sets the backdrop for this film. I liked the starting technique for although the cast is well known it makes you feel like you are more immersed in real everyday culture of the city. Having the two private detectives Patrick and Angie dating was a refreshing change as you very rarely see women in these types of roles. They have real world issues and discussions while working and it added some nice tension in a few scenes. I also appreciated the fact that Patrick is a local, born and raised. It leads to a very believable search for the child throughout the film as he is familiar with so many of the players already. The film seemed to build momentum as it went along. Not in the pacing but more in the intrigue department. Every door the two detectives opened would lead to many unanswered questions. I almost felt the search for the child was secondary to the actual investigation in this film. The eclectic group of suspects leads to very intense scenes of barely contained violence and conflict.
Who out there could ever picture Casey Affleck not only as a great lead but also a bad ass in a movie? If you raised your hand your nose definitely grew but he nailed it in this film. Casey Affleck played one of the detectives Patrick Kenzie. He is a local boy who stayed in the area to help him navigate through the populace and ask questions for his job. He is the perfect character in this film as he is laid back but can change in the drop of a hat to tough guy if someone steps out of line or threatens his girlfriend. Affleck did a great job with not only the character but also the voice. I am not entirely sure what an authentic Boston accent sounds like but it was believable to me. The biggest compliment you can bestow on an actor is when you cannot picture anyone else doing this role and this is clearly the case with Casey. Patrick’s lady and partner in this one is Angie Gennaro played by Michelle Monaghan. She is a nice compliment to Patrick. Their easy dialogue and familiarity with each other seems genuine and she lets Affleck do his thing without detracting from the film. Overall she did a nice job and I have no complaints.
Having Ed Harris and Morgan Freeman supporting in any movie is only going to help your film. Ed Harris playing Remy Bressant a cop investigating the kidnapping and his boss Jack Doyle played by Morgan Freeman were both solid. There smooth veteran expertise while coming in smaller roles still helped the film gel in all the right places.
Finally a big surprise for me was the kidnapped child’s mom Helene McCready played by Actress Amy Ryan. She was such a natural in this role it seemed they picked her right off the local street. She plays the rundown and helpless mom so well she looks like she could be on the news instead of a movie.
Over all this film has more twists and turns than a Gumby doll but I enjoyed the many layers working in this film. This film won’t be for everyone as it has slow parts and I felt it ran a tad long. The conclusion to the story seemed very fragmented and choppy to me and won’t agree with everyone. The story and dialogue more than make up for any negatives that this film had though.
Director Ben Affleck in his movie debut knocked it out of the park with this film. Some say nepotism is wrong but in this case it was very right as casting his brother as Patrick was genius. He actually did a great job of incorporating bigger names like Harris and Freeman with lesser known names like John Ashton and Titus Welliver. He told a story about kidnapping but made it more about self discovery than about the missing child. He used great dialogue and a mix of well thought out characters and plot developments to have the viewer buy into this film. He needed to tweak the ending for a more polished finish but I cannot wait to see what Ben does with his next movie. This is just a great start to his directing resume.
Overall this movie is a big recommendation from me. It caters to Drama lovers and to people who enjoy a good mystery. The films story is about a lost child but is much more about situational choices and the ethics of right versus feelings.
T Factor + If you like Casey Affleck as an actor this could score higher on the rating scale.
T Factor – If do not like Casey Affleck as an actor this could score lower but give it a chance.
If you liked this film reel recommendations: The Town, Edge of Darkness