Director: Ben Affleck
Gone Baby Gone was Ben Affleck’s directorial debut, followed by The Town, Argo, Live by Night, and Air. What a solid lineup, with only Live by Night failing to thrive, and Argo winning Best Picture. In this film, his first, Ben directs his brother Casey and sets the action in their home town of Boston; write what you know, right? Well, the story leaves Affleck’s real life there, jumping into crime, coverup, and consequences. Gone Baby Gone is a strong film that boasts strong acting; that it probably won’t be remembered as one of the greatest films on the 2000s can’t be held against it.
Patrick is a native Bostonian and knows the city well, including its seedier elements. He works as a private investigator or sorts, he and his girlfriend/business partner, but has never taken on a more-gruesome case, until now. A little girl has gone missing, taken right out of her bed, and her aunt hires Patrick to find her, to go places the police can’t go. Working alongside the grudging Detective Remy Bressant, he attempts to dig deeper into the story, to find the truth, to find the girl. But the further down he goes, the more complicated this simply abduction becomes, and the more he may not want to know what really happened.
Gone Baby Gone is based on a Dennis Lehane novel (Mystic River, Shutter Island, The Drop) and was written by Ben Affleck with his & Matt Damon’s frequent partner Aaron Stockard. It did get one Oscar nomination, Amy Ryan for Best Supporting, and it really does feature strong work around every corner, but for whatever reason that’s where the magic ends before it becomes something remarkable, like Mystic River or Argo. This is a film that’s really tough to watch, with criminals, crime, kidnapping, the underbelly of a city, constant violence, and personal tragedy & failure. It’s not a pleasant plot, that’s for sure, but everything is done extremely well by all involved. Casey is great, Ryan deserves her nod, and Ed Harris shines, in this dirty drama about humanity at its worst.
My rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ☆