JT Film Review

26 – Gone Baby Gone (2007)

Gone Baby Gone REVIEW

5/5 stars

Director – Ben Affleck

Cast – Casey Affleck, Michelle Monaghan, Ed Harris, Morgan Freeman, Amy Harris

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gone-baby-goneGone Baby Gone follows a young detective couple as they try to track down a young kidnapped girl in Boston. The plot is a tad convoluted, but both Ben Affleck’s direction and the editing of the film give us what we need to know.

When we think of Ben Affleck we don’t usually think of a director. We think of an actor, and one whose films have not necessarily been received that well critically. This film is not actually his directing debut as has been hyped, (he has directed two others, but neither found their way to theaters). However, it certainly forces us to re-examine how we see this star. If asked before seeing this movie if he was capable of thoughtful, meaningful, tense cinema, I doubt many would have thought it possible. Yet here we have exactly that.

The script is based of a book by the same author as the critically acclaimed Mystic River, so it should come as no surprise that the story is great. Ben Affleck co-wrote this screenplay, as he did with his Oscar-winning script for Good Will Hunting. It tackles some major issues here. The climax is not, as in most cop thrillers, a shoot out. Instead we get a moral dilemma, and a doozy of one at that. I will not go into details, but suffice it to say that the ending will undoubtedly keep you thinking and debating with others who have seen it. It is truly moving.

gone_baby_gone_003The acting is great. Ben’s younger brother Casey (who is fast becoming a name of his own) is pitch perfect casting in the lead role of a spunky yet conflicted detective. Michelle Monaghan is surprisingly effective, and Morgan Freeman continues with his warm mentor thing. But Ed Harris and Amy Ryan really delivers the knock-out performances here. He plays a character who is tough, yet human, with a clear sense of his values. She plays a grieving mother who just happened to be a “white trash” crack addict. All the characters here are wonderfully rounded, with not one of them being a stereotype.

gone.baby.gone.101507I should mention some of the “action scenes” as well. There is one particular scene where Casey Affleck and Ed Harris raid a house, and some gun play ensues. It is an extremely good scene, compact and tense, with not a shot wasted. It holds interest without going on too long, which some gun fights tend to do.

OVERALL

This is a great crime thriller, one of the best. Some may find it’s language and harsh violence off putting, but it is presented in an extremely realistic way, giving the film weight and honesty. Be prepared afterwards to talk about the tough moral issues it raises. Definitely recommended.

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TRAILER

“Gone Baby Gone” on other websites:

IMDB —– Rotten Tomatoes —– Wikipedia

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July 13, 2009 - Posted by | 5 Stars, Film Review, Genre - Crime, Year - 2000-2009 | , , , ,

2 Comments »

  1. I was really impressed with Ben Affleck’s direction – and it’s good to know he’ll have a job now that his “acting” career has tanked (although he was quite good in Hollywoodland, which was also a very good film, I thought).
    After the mess Eastwood made of Mystic River, which I’ve tried to watch twice and never got past the 30 minute mark, (although I did skip to the end to hear Laura Linney’s character going on about how “this is what people like us have to do” bs)this was redeeming.

    Comment by brent mosher | September 26, 2010 | Reply

  2. Yeah, apparently Affleck seems to be shaping up to be a really good director. Who would have thought it, eh? I just hope he doesnt stick to the same genre over and over again (as Gone, Baby Gone and The Town are both crime thrillers set in Boston). What with The Town getting excellent reviews as well, it should be interesting to see his career go along. I look forward to the day where we see an Affleck DVD collection alongside the Scorsese box sets. Should be interesting.

    Comment by jamesturpin | September 26, 2010 | Reply


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