'Gone Baby Gone'
(Casey Affleck, Morgan Freeman, et al / DVD / NR / (2007) 2008 / Miramax)
Overview: When two young private detectives (Casey Affleck (GOOD WILL HUNTING) and Michelle Monaghan MISSION: IMPOSSIBLE III) are hired to take a closer look into the mysterious disappearance of a little girl they soon unravel a multitude of twists and turns where nothing is what it seems. Ultimately they must risk everything - their relationship their sanity and even their lives - in the search to find her.
DVD Verdict: When a young girl is taken from her home in broad daylight, a young private detective is her only defense against the child-kidnapping statistics. To get her alive, she must be found almost immediately and the clock has already been ticking. The detective, an unlikely toughguy, is getting little help from the police and no help at all from the girl's mother. He will have to face many physical and moral conflicts if he hopes to find her.
This movie was very good, but I liked it for the story and not the acting. Casey Affleck was very unbelievable as the hard-nosed private detective who pushed the limits to get the answers he wanted. Michelle Monaghan was in the movie just so there was a pretty girl on screen occasionally. The back of the DVD acclaims Morgan Freeman's performance, but it only does so to mention he's in the movie so you'll have another reason to want to see it. His part is minor and he is good as always, but it is too small of a part to base your decision on. But there was some good acting among all this.
Amy Ryan was nominated for a Best Supporting Actress Academy Award for her role as the missing child's uncooperative mother. She was great, and her performance is worth seeing if you like to catch up on the Oscar nods.
Maybe my fanboy bias will come through a little here, but I can't help it; I am a big Ed Harris fan. He shares a lot of scenes with Casey, which helped neutralize how ridiculous the young Affleck was at times. He does good work, but Amy Ryan is still your star.
The story is almost classic pulp in the way it had some over-the-top dialogue and a quickened pace. It moves along very fluidly and I never had that "check my watch and see how much is left" itch.
Another thing I should mention is Ben Affleck's directorial debut. I have heard/read many reviews of this movie that say that Ben has shown on which side of the camera he belongs. I'm afraid that is more of a jab at his much maligned career on-screen rather than praise for his successful first-attempt at directing, however. But for whatever little it's worth, I thought he added to the feel of the movie, especially with the shots of the Boston neighborhoods that reminded me of what Spike Lee did for New York in Clockers (and pretty much every other movie he's made).
Gone Baby Gone was a great story and one that leaves watchers tangled up in the same moral dilemmas the characters faced. I enjoyed the puzzles the plot created and how they were put together. Some performances weren't the best, but Amy Ryan was very deserving of the Oscar nomination she received for this part and maybe you should see it just to judge for yourself if she should have won, if nothing else. This is a Widescreen Presentation (1.85:1) enhanced for 16x9 TVs and comes with the Special Features of:
2 Featurettes - ‘Going Home: Behind the Scenes with Ben Affleck’ and ‘Capturing Authenticity: Casting Gone Baby Gone’
Audio Commentary by Ben Affleck and Co-Writer Aaron Stockard