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Gone Baby Gone

A movie directed by Ben Affleck

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Ben Affleck SHOULD quit his day job...and direct!

  • Jan 8, 2008
  • by
Rating:
+4
This is a confident and assured directing-debut for Ben Affleck. He has proven to be a good screenwriter (he co-wrote this one, as well as the Oscar-winning script to GOOD WILL HUNTING), but has been prett spotty as an actor. Sometimes his choices were poor and sometimes his performances too. He is obviously very intelligent and capable...but that doesn't always come through in his performances.

With GONE BABY GONE, filmed in Affleck's beloved and familiar Boston...he has established himself as an outstanding director. There aren't any fancy tricks or special-effects here. Just an understanding of how to set mood and how to give good actors space to operate.

The movie (based on the novel by Dennis Lenhane, who also wrote MYSTIC RIVER) tells the story of two low-rent private eyes (Casey Affleck and Michelle Monaghan) who are hired by grieving relatives to help the police in their search for a 4 year old missing girl. The belief is that people who won't talk to the police will talk to them. This proves to be an astute assumption, as the two investigators (who are also a loving couple) quickly make headway.

Regulations apparently compel the police to cooperate, so two veteran detectives (Ed Harris and John Ralston) assist the couple in their work...and vice versa. I liked the fact that there was tension between the two groups (which we certainly come to expect when we see similar scenarios in movies) but it fairly rapidly is lightened when it becomes clear that the two private eyes are actually making progress and the two cops are actually willing to act on this information and to take some risks themselves.

I'm going to leave the plot there...suffice it to say that no one is quite who they appear to be. It is an intersting and surprise-packed story on the surface...and that's almost good enough...just watching the case unfold and the twists get revealed. But what earns this film an extra star is the moral and ethical tale just beneath the surface. These characters grapple with moral choices, and the movie shows over and over that our consciences and religious beliefs may be tightly held and admirably adhered to...but they can nonetheless get us into serious trouble. As viewers, we understand fairly clearly what we think everyone OUGHT to do...but we also feel the pain of internal conflict when they don't. Because we understand their internal battles. And we also feel for them when they live with the consequences of their prideful stubborness. Doing the right thing isn't cut and dried in this film at all.

Pretty much everyone in the film does great work. Special mention should go to Casey Affleck, an actor that I've pretty much paid no attention to. Well, he's having a great year (with this film and THE ASSASINATION OF JESSE JAMES...) and he's an interesting performer. Unconventional looking and seemingly a little slow and sleepy-eyed...his character bursts forth with shocking actions and bravery. He uses bluster to get out of sticky situations...but you can also easily tell that he's probably quivering in his boots at the same time.

The film isn't perfect. Michelle Monaghan's character is both underwritten and underplayed. I think this movie stretched her skills just past her breaking point. She isn't awful...but I was distracted by her lack of convincing reactions in many scenes. And a couple of brief flashback scenes go by SO quickly, and they're so important, that I think I may have missed a couple of minor points of plot developments.

Quibbles aside...this is a stirring, adult, thought-provoking, well-acted, well-written and SURPRISE, well-directed thriller. I HIGHLY recommend it.

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More Gone Baby Gone reviews
review by . April 16, 2011
posted in Movie Hype
Amy Ryan shines and there are some fine piece parts...but there also are a lot of
Gone Baby Gone drops more F-bombs than dogs in a public park drop pooch poop. That's only part of the problem with this movie, which contains within a lot of wrapping a clever, complicated mystery. Scattered throughout the movie also are what seem to be endless "acting" moments for every featured actor, a style of self-aware directing that spills over onto some of the actors' performances, plus enough social sermonizing to keep even Sean Penn happy.       …
review by . August 11, 2010
The right thing
Based on a novel by Dennis LeHane. With Ben Affleck, Ed Harris, Amy Madigan, Morgan Freeman.      A little girl disappears from her run down Boston neighborhood, where Patrick Kenzie grew up and, now in his thirties, has never left. He and girlfriend Angie Gennaro live and work together, and life is good. When this pair of private investigators are asked to find the missing child, they reluctantly agree. But things don't go as hoped. And when Patrick finally uncovers the …
review by . November 07, 2009
posted in Movie Hype
A good neo-noir that will boggle you, while at the same time blow you away
This movie is what you call a can't miss movie it has all the makings of a great film and let me be say that it is a great crime film at that, probably one of the best since Street Kings and Narc. It's execution and style almost borders on Noir and it does so with oh so much style and grace. Ben Affleck proves that he's as good a director as he is an actor and screenplay writer. Ben Affleck surpasses his previous screenplay which he won the Oscar for( which was just as good here) and …
review by . June 19, 2009
DVD
The story opens in a run-down section of Boston, where a 4-year old girl has been kidnapped. The police Captain (Morgan Freeman) isn't having any luck with the investigation, so the child's aunt hires two private detectives (Casey Affleck and Michelle Monaghan) to help. Their work takes them into a cruel world where life is very cheap.     This movie really surprised me. First off, it was a tense and scary detective story, but then it became a story about Right and Wrong, …
review by . November 15, 2008
This movie pulls no punches in revealing the dark sides of its characters, and the result is a gritty, compelling crime drama, with a surprise around every corner.     Casey Affleck (brother of Ben a.k.a. the Director of the movie, a.k.a. half of Bennifer 2) plays Patrick Kenzie, a low budget private investigator who specializes in finding missing people. His partner is his live-in girlfriend Angie, and the two are hired by the aunt of a missing girl to supplement the efforts …
review by . December 05, 2008
Pros: great cast     Cons: ...     The Bottom Line:   "Could it be it's the end of our world?  All the things that we cherish and love  Nothing left but to face this all on my own"  ~Iron Maiden         Despite the subject matter, Gone Baby Gone was quite a good movie.  Ben Affleck made his directorial debut for a major picture and brought along his little brother Casey for …
review by . September 08, 2008
Ben Affleck's directorial debut, based on a novel by Dennis Lehane, who also wrote Mystic River was pretty good to me. Affleck's direction is more than adequate. I'm sure he's aping Clint Eastwood's film version of Mystic River much of the time, and there's one scene that's way too reminiscent of Se7en, but he shows a lot of skill. He's great at capturing his hometown of Boston and the people who live there.     The story revolves around the investigation of a missing girl. Morgan …
review by . April 14, 2008
posted in Movie Hype
Pros: The story and plot are really good, the acting good, the pacing is great      Cons: Nothing really stands out, but it lacks something intangible from being 5 stars      The Bottom Line: A solid interpretation of a complex plot. Without reservation, it is worth the time.      Plot Details: This opinion reveals minor details about the movie''s plot. Ben Affleck’s directorial debut Gone Baby Gone adapted from the Dennis …
review by . February 14, 2008
posted in Movie Hype
`Gone Baby Gone' is as unsettling as it is intriguing. Behind the headlines of child abduction, the movie is disturbingly real with events that develop naturally. As complicated as life itself, the film captures a mystery of tangled proportions.     Little four-year-old Amanda MacReady has been kidnapped from her Dorchester, MA home. We see private detective, Patrick Kenzie (Casey Affleck) watching the latest breaking stories of her abduction on television with his girlfriend …
review by . February 13, 2008
Ben Affleck has written (with Aaron Stockard) a superb screenplay adaptation of Dennis Lahane's novel GONE BABY GONE and has proceeded to direct this tough tale with an ensemble cast of both well-known actors and unknown actors and walk-ons from the streets of the Boston area where they grisly story takes place. The result is a film so well tuned and realistic with a perfect sense of pacing and character development that it becomes a remarkable calling card for Ben Affleck's career as a director. …
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I've got my own site, www.afilmcritic.com, on which I'm posting my reviews. I am 46 years old, married 25 years, two kids (23 & 18) and currently work in accounting/finance. I spent 15 years … more
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For his initial offering as director, Ben Affleck returns to the site of his first Oscar: South Boston. (He and Matt Damon shared the award forGood Will Hunting.) Hot on the heels of his moving turn inHollywoodland, Affleck's Dennis Lehane adaptation marks one of the more seamless actor-to-filmmaker transitions in recent years. Ostensibly, a procedural about the search for a missing child, class and corruption emerge as his primary concerns. First off, there's low-rent private eye Patrick Kenzie (Casey Affleck, equally adept inThe Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford). Then there's the girl's drug mule mother, Helene (Amy Ryan,Before the Devil Knows You're Dead). She and Patrick grew up in Dorchester, but he took a different path, setting up an agency with his girlfriend, Angie (Michelle Monaghan). Helene's aunt, Bea (Amy Madigan), hires the duo to augment the investigation, and they team up with Captain Doyle (Morgan Freeman) and Detective Bressant (Madigan's husband, Ed Harris). The authorities don't appreciate the interference, but Patrick knows how to get the local populace talking, and he soon finds there's more to the story than anyone could possibly imagine. Hard-hitting, but never soft-headed, the evocative end result proves Affleck has a flair for this directing thing and that his little brother can carry a major motion picture with aplomb.Gone Baby Gonebelongs on the list of great Boston crime dramas, along ...
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Movies, Drama Movies, Action Movies, Dramas, Ben Affleck, Casey Affleck, Casey Affleck Movies, Ben Affleck Movies

Details

Director: Ben Affleck
Genre: Action, Adventure
Release Date: October 19, 2007
MPAA Rating: R
Screen Writer: Ben Affleck
DVD Release Date: February 12, 2008
Runtime: 1hr 55min
Studio: Miramax
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