Sunday, September 12, 2010

Short Review: Gone Baby Gone (Ben Affleck, 2007)

Gone Baby Gone is a truly powerful drama from debut director Ben Affleck. It brilliantly captures the seedy underbelly of the city of Boston; most notably the horrific existence of such irresponsible parenting, the lurking pedophiles and the corrupt police department. Caught up in the mess are private investigators Patrick Kenzie (Casey Affleck) and Angela Gennaro (Michelle Monaghan), who agree to investigate the kidnapping of a young girl after being hired by her aunt and uncle. They seek out the most destructive regions of the city in search of clues to her disappearance and eventually unravel a shocking conspiracy that will forever alter the lives of all involved. I think that this is Casey Affleck's finest performance (and he is always excellent) and Amy Ryan is outstanding as the young girls, drug-riddled mother. Michelle Monaghan (who i thought was well-suited to the role) and Ed Harris also gave fine performances. There were some brilliantly executed shootout sequences that were genuinely edge-of-your seat worthy and some mighty fine twists. The early sequence where Kenzie and Gennaro question some locals in the pub about Helene McCready's drug practices was especially good. What I thought let the film down was that it did feel a lot like a series of climaxes, with twist after twist revealing new developments, almost too incredible to match the gritty representation of the city and the shocking reality of their existence. Overall, I really enjoyed it. It's edgy, tense and exciting and it has been rightly claimed as one of the finest films of 2007. To miss out on consideration for the major awards though was not unjustified. Affleck showed a lot of potential with this project and I am really looking forward to his next film, The Town, scheduled for a release later in the year.

My Rating: 4 Stars

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