Okay, just saw this film. Decided Ben Affleck has a very good future as a director, should he continue to direct.
I love it when a celebrity surprises people by being smart. I didn't know much about Ben Affleck before this film, other than he was engaged to J-Lo and suffered overexposure as a result, and won an Oscar for Good Will Hunting. And it's not like I know much about him now, other than: he's a good director. I mean, really good. I suspect he's a hell of a lot smarter than he's given credit for in the media.
But I digress.
Two Boston PIs, a couple, investigate the abduction of an adorable four-year-old girl. The girl's aunt and uncle ask for their help three days into her being missing, as the police are getting nowhere. What the PIs bring to the table—especially Casey Affleck's character—is first-hand knowledge of the criminals and drug dealers who operate in Boston. These are people he grew up with. So he's able to find information the police miss, although he's misled in a number of ways.
The film explores the theme of nature vs. nurture, along with underlying subtexts of the problems that make this even a debate. Even if this kid is found alive, would she really be better off if she came back to her mother? After all, her mother exists in a heroin-snorting-induced haze, where she floats from one high to the next, fulfilling only the most basic of her child's needs. Her saving grace is that she doesn't beat the kid. Yet she isn't wholly unsympathetic, as she clearly loves her daughter. But how much of that is for the cameras? You wonder after seeing the ending.
Everyone in this film is good. Casey Affleck, Morgan Freeman, Michelle Monaghan (who was in the excellent Kiss Kiss Bang Bang). Amy Ryan puts in a stellar performance as the girl's mother.
See. This. Film.*
*You should know that this film is based on the novel by Dennis Lahane.