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Gone Baby Gone
7 reviews

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Movie Details

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Directed By
Ben Affleck

Written By:
Ben Affleck, Aaron Stockard

Casey Affleck, John Ashton, Whitney Avalon, Eamon Brooks, Morgan Freeman, Edi Gathegi, Jay Giannone, Ed Harris, Amy Madigan, Matthew Maher, Mark Margolis, Allyssa Maurice, Michelle Monaghan, Patrick Pitu, Amy Ryan, Robert Wahlberg, Titus Welliver, Michael K. Williams, William DeCoff, Alan Resnic, Chuck Slavin, Terry Conforti, Carla Antonino, Michael Yebba, Billy Silvia, Tom Kemp, Kasey Ryan, Brian Scannell, Michele Proude, Rich Skinner, Lewis D. Wheeler, Dale Place, Osmani Rodriguez, Slaine, Karen Ahern, John Belche, Mary Bounphasaysonh, Paula Chleboski, Peter Crafts, Andy Dawson, Aidan Demarest, Elizabeth Dings, Joseph Flaherty, Trudi Goodman, Cameron Henry, Paul Horn, Devon Jencks, John Joyce, Chelsea Ladd, Jimmy LeBlanc, William Lee, Josh Marchette, Madeline O'Brien, Matt Podolske, Ronald Riccioli, Patrick Shea, Gary Tanguay, Joey Vacchio, Cathie Callanan, Fanshen Cox, Kippy Goldfarb, Peg Holzemer, Slaine

Gone Baby Gone (2007)
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Movie Review by Jarrod
October 24th, 2007

'Gone Baby Gone' marks a strong directorial debut from Ben Affleck, whose acting career of late has undergone some serious hits, in Gigli (with his ex Jennifer Lopez, he has since had a baby with Jennifer Garner), Hollywoodland (not a bad movie, but not a particularly great one either), Jersey Girl (Kevin Smith lite, with Affleck as a single dad who falls for Liv Tyler), Daredevil (as a blind superhero), and the atrocious Surviving Christmas (with James Gandolfini), but we cannot forget that he won an Oscar for the screenplay he produced with friend Matt Damon for Good Will Hunting, and that proved his talent for writing, which he demonstrates again with this film, adapted from a novel by Dennis Lehane, who also provided the basis for Clint Eastwood's Mystic River, which won Sean Penn and Tim Robbins Oscars.

Set in Boston, 'Gone Baby Gone' is the story of two detectives, amateur detectives, Patrick Kenzie (Casey Affleck) and Angie Gennaro (Michelle Monaghan), who also happen to be lovers. They are contacted by Lionel and Bea (Titus Welliver and Amy Madigan), a couple worried about their missing 4-year-old niece, Amanda. There are cops on the case, led by Jack Doyle (Morgan Freeman), but Lionel and Bea are convinced that Patrick and Angie can get information the police cannot, as they don't wear badges and know the neighborhood more intimately.

Doyle is surprisingly cooperative; he allows Patrick and Angie to work with two of his subordinates, Remy Bressant (Ed Harris) and Nick Poole (John Ashton). Patrick and Angie are good at what they do, but are obviously inexperienced, and are not really prepared for the really hard stuff, which is where Poole and Bressant might assist, if they are as friendly as Doyle. Bressant is a bit of a mystery, Harris plays him as a rough veteran who has probably seen his share of violence, and may be capable of it himself, it really is a wonderful performance, and I am glad to see Harris back in top form, after a bit of a recession.

But his is one of many. It might appear that Ben is guilty of nepotism by casting his younger brother Casey in the lead role, but it is not a mistake, and Casey asserts himself well alongside Harris and the dependable Freeman (playing the older authority figure, as he normally does), and he compliments his fine work in The Assassination of Jesse James, and might do enough to get an Oscar nomination. Ben deserves one, too, and some actors turned directors get lucky with their first film, and win Oscars, like Robert Redford, Warren Beatty, and Kevin Costner. Ben directs with confidence and vision, a gritty and compelling drama that contains many surprises, as the multilayered plot is unraveled slowly, and each new development makes sense, with no self-indulgent trickery or manipulation.

The relationships are complex enough, Monaghan is completely overshadowed by Casey, but she proves a good sidekick and romantic interest all the same. And the circumstances of Amanda's disappearance are intriguing, as we meet her drug addicted mother Helene (Amy Ryan, who is fantastic), who doesn't remember much of anything, and shows that if the girl does return; her life with this woman would not be pleasant. There is also the toll this investigation takes on Patrick and Angie, not to mention everyone else involved. 'Gone Baby Gone' is a terrific film, and I applaud Ben Affleck and await his next feature, though he may have set a difficult standard for himself.

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