Monday, October 29, 2024

Gone Baby Gone

In the directorial debut of actor Ben Affleck we explore familiar movie territory – the working class heroes and police and criminal strata of Boston society. Only Affleck has a few aces up his sleeve because he delivers a flick that doesn't unroll like the usual procedural drama.
Case in point: in Mystic River, based on a novel by the same author as Gone Baby Gone, Dennis Lahane, a moral quandary solved brings a family together, only in GBG a similar dilemma drives a family apart. Usually a movie hero shows restraint when arresting a suspect; here the baddie's Miranda rights include a bullet in the back of the head. The film delves headfirst into seedy environments without pausing to judge the occupants, at least at first.

Gone Baby Gone, besides being a line from a killer song by Violent Femmes, unfolds with the murky mystery of a missing pre-school girl. The case becomes more convoluted as pertinent facts are revealed.
The plot resembles a real life kidnapping that occurred in the UK earlier this year and thus Gone Baby Gone has been pulled from distribution in that country. Not oddly that's the same kind of strict justice employed by the film's characters.
Casey Affleck, batting clean-up after his winning performance as Robert Ford in Jesse James, heads what might be called a democratic ensemble line-up. Also bringing strong support to the plate are Michelle Monaghan, Morgan Freeman, Ed Harris, Amy Madigan, and Amy Ryan. Affleck and Harris in particular seem to dig deep into the actor's well of secrets and reveal wonderful nuances of their character's flaws.


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