>> Gone Baby Gone (Brandon’s Review, 9/10)

Gone Baby GoneI’ve been sitting on this film for a couple of weeks now, I’ve seen it twice and it haunts me. It’s brutally good and emotionally devastating. Ben Affleck’s film isn’t as grim and depressing as “Mystic River” (the last Dennis Lehan novelization to come to life on the big screen) although I wouldn’t say there is a lightness of tone to it, the film itself breathes and allows you to breath as well. It invites you to get very intimate with the Boston neighborhood that private investigators Patrick Kenzie (Casey Affleck) and Angela Gennaro (Michelle Monaghan) call home.Patrick and Angela have been hired to augment (I prefer, “grease the wheels”) the investigation of a missing three year old named Amanda who was abducted from her home while her mother, Helene (Amy Ryan) claimed to be visiting a friend across the street. Early on in the investigation information comes to light that mommy was no saint (the kind of information that makes reticent police more willing to comply) and we quickly learn that people are fierce and loyal, willing to die for their secrets and the good and the bad bleed into one another in surprising ways. Ed Harris astonishingly inhabits the grey area as Remy Bressant, one of the two detectives assigned to the case. Bressant’s character is a Boston transplant but he knows enough about the city in his thirty-three years as a resident to be able to find and keep secrets of his own. John Ashton is also great as Nick Poole, who frankly it’s just nice to see in a movie again. Only Michelle Monaghan and Morgan Freeman come across unfavorably, not terrible but not complex enough to be considered anything other than stock. Still it’s probably the only misstep in an otherwise amazingly close to perfect film.

Affleck’s film is overcast in grey much like the area most of the film’s characters inhabit, their sense of right and wrong deeply and unbelievably skewed but not non-existent. The exception to this being Casey Affleck’s Patrick Kenzie whose only pursuit is pure unabashed truth. In many ways every conflict that Patrick faces has to do with his pursuit of absolute truth. People think he’s a smug jerk and a cop, they threaten him and pulls guns on him but he never backs down because his pursuit is like a bulletproof vest. The end of the film finally finds Patrick in that place where no matter how many bullets you dodge or how well protected you think you are one of those damn things sneaks in and takes a chunk out of you. I’m speaking from an emotional standpoint, of course, but I don’t envy Patrick’s position but Casey handles it with such grace, beautifully externalizing an interior struggle and having the absolute right logic. There are a lot of self righteous people in “Gone Baby Gone” and I can imagine that being a difficult cross to bear, but being the absolute right self righteous guy in the room probably looks exactly like Patrick Kenzie.

I’d like to see the brothers Affleck get due consideration for this film, it’s a miracle. Plus, they’ve given me a huge boner of awe and admiration.

9 on a 1 to 10 scale

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1 Comment

  1. i’ve heard more chatter about a possible supporting actor nod for cassy’s work in “jesse james,” but i hope he gets it for this one. ben is a much more compotent director than i would’ve assumed, and his work on “gone” is downright superb.

    one day you’ll have to stop writing reviews that reveal your man-love for the brothers affleck.


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