Title – Gone Baby Gone (2007)
Director – Ben Affleck (The Town)
Cast – Casey Affleck, Michelle Monaghan, Ed Harris, Amy Ryan, Morgan Freeman, Titus Welliver
Plot – Boston based private investigator Patrick Kenzie (Affleck) and his partner Angie Grennaro (Monaghan) are drawn into the investigation into the mysterious disappearance of a 4 year old child from their local area.
“I always believed it was the things you don’t choose that makes you who you are”
Review by Eddie on 28/05/2019
Back in 2007, it surprised many that Ben Affleck’s directing debut was such a finely tuned crime thriller.
It’s not like the much-lampooned leading man wasn’t adept at other things outside of leading such big-budget event films like Armageddon, Pearl Harbor and The Sum of All Fears, as the talented all-rounder showed his worth as one part of the Oscar winning duo behind the long-standing classic Good Will Hunting but there still wasn’t many out there that believed Gone Baby Gone was going to be a film of much note.
Showing the detractors why they’re wrong, Affleck’s nuanced adaptation of Dennis Lehane’s novel of the same name that takes place in the filmmakers beloved Boston and stars his brother Casey as private investigator Patrick Kenzie, whose been drawn into the search for young neighbourhood child Amanda McCready, Gone Baby Gone is a unique film with a heartfelt foundation and a film that holds up well these years on from release.
Many would argue, and perhaps rightfully so, that Gone Baby Gone is the pinnacle of Affleck the filmmaker, despite the success he found in The Town and Argo (let’s just forget Live by Night is a thing) and it’s not hard to see why, as the film is the complete package from noteworthy performances, pitch perfecting scripting and a loaded narrative that will have you guessing and questioning yourself right up to the end credits.
Due to the finely crafted nature of the film, it’s not hard to see why it made Affleck an in-demand force behind the camera and led to more of a public acceptance after a few rough years in front of the camera, while it established his younger brother Casey as a genuine lead after his fine work previously in the likes of The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford, we’re the solid performer was unfairly overshadowed by his A-list co-star Brad Pitt.
Casey is brilliant in his role as Kenzie, a local Bostonian that utilises his long-standing connections to help uncover the mystery surrounding Amanda’s disappearance, with the at the time lesser known Affleck brother solidly supported by the likes of Michelle Monaghan as his co-worker and partner Angie, Morgan Freeman as retired police chief Jack Doyle, Ed Harris as detective Remy Bressant, while the Oscar nominated Amy Ryan is an irritating joy as drug-addled mother Helene McCready.
It’s a fine showcase for Ben Affleck’s ability to get the best out of his ensembles, an ability his showcased in almost all of his features as director, while his handling of set-pieces and more solemn human moments (a house raid and the films stirring finale examples of this) are works of a director who knows and understands his craft, but also knows and understands the human condition, combining to create an emotionally heavy and often thrilling experience.
Final Say –
A finely tuned film that asks some intriguing and confronting moral questions, Gone Baby Gone is as powerful of an experience today as it was upon release and an undeniable showcase for Affleck’s directing talents.
4 ½ uninviting bars out of 5