Gone Baby Gone (2007)






THE SCOOP

Director:  Ben Affleck
Cast:  Morgan FreemanEd HarrisCasey Affleck, Michelle Monaghan, Amy Ryan 
Plot:  Based on the Dennis Lehane novel about two Boston area detectives investigating a little girl's kidnapping, which ultimately turns into a crisis both professionally and personally.

Genre:  Crime / Drama / Mystery

Awards:  Nom.for 1 Oscar - Best Supporting Actress
Runtime:  114min
Rating:  R21 for violence, drug content and pervasive language.

IN RETROSPECT (Spoilers: NO)

After sharing the Academy Award with Matt Damon for Best Original Screenplay in 1997 for Good Will Hunting, one would expect Ben Affleck to seek greater heights.  Alas, for most part of the next decade, his once promising career falters and crashes like a speeding train. 

Acting in a slew of badly-made big-budget pictures like Armageddon, Pearl Harbor, Paycheck etc, Affleck hits rock bottom as Hollywood’s laughing stock and becomes a clown in the media circus.  Remember ‘Bennifer’?  Remember how he always hit the wrong headlines?


Gone Baby Gone thankfully brings Affleck back into the spotlight, now for all the correct reasons.  His directorial debut couldn’t have been any better.  In the tradition of Boston crime pictures, Gone Baby Gone is nearly up there among the best. 


There’s quality drama, all-round superb performances, violence, loads of profanity, and an intriguing plot.  The manner in which the story is told can be baffling to some though, but most of the question marks are duly dealt with in the final quarter of the film.


Ed Harris and Amy Ryan are the two most outstanding from the supporting cast, outshining leads played by Casey Affleck and Michelle Monaghan.  Casey Affleck is tipped to be an acting star, but his display here is sometimes flat and uninspiring (but he can’t do no worse than his bro though). 


There are two eerily suspenseful sequences – ‘the quarry scene’ and ‘the drug-house shootout’ – both relying on dark atmospherics to induce shock moments.  Gone Baby Gone’s approach is effective only to a certain extent. The story sometimes meanders here and there, with several twists put in for good measure, but there’s never a ‘Eureka’ moment like in The Usual Suspects


But Ben Affleck should stick to directing for now; he’s never a good actor.  Gone Baby Gone is like a veteran filmmaker’s work.  Yes, Affleck took a calculated risk and was largely successful.  But who knows?  It might have been "Gone Ben Gone".


GRADE: B+ 









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