Monday, June 30, 2008

Gone Baby Gone

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.


Whirlochre said...

I had trouble with this film, mainly because of the silly woman sidekick in it. Get rid of her and it's actually OK. Starts slow, but the last third is great. Didn't see the end coming at all — but it's the same with Tom & Jerry cartoons (I'm a dumbo).

Is it true they kept it in the can for a year because of the Madeleine McCann case?

freddie said...

Yeah, this was a much more subdued role for her, and complaints I've heard about the film are usually attributed to her. (But in Kiss Kiss Bang Bang she was great!) I didn't have a problem with her performance. It just felt a bit unnecessary, as if she was there solely as a springboard for Casey Affleck's character's thoughts. But maybe it's not that way in the book.

It is true they delayed release in the UK for a year because of the Madeleine McCann case. At the time her parents were suspects, and there were just too many similarities between the film and the real-live case. I think at the time they weren't sure it would be released in the UK at all. It depended on where the McCann case went.

We've totally lost the thread on that on this side of the water with that, by the way. Was anything ever resolved with that case?

I didn't see the ending coming, either. I think that's one of the reasons this film stuck with me.

Whirlochre said...

No news as yet, sadly — though the heat is now off the McCanns.

Kiersten said...

Alas, I don't see rated R movies. I just go online and read the plot synopsis of any that I'm dying to find out what happened ; )

Yes, thank you, I am insane.