Gone Baby Gone - 2007
Gone Baby Gone is the directorial debut of Ben Affleck (The Town & Argo). He also cowrote the screenplay with Aron Stockard (The Town), the story being adapted from a novel of the same name. The movie also boasts a star-studded cast with Morgan Freeman, Ed Harris, Amy Ryan and lead by Casey Affleck. The story centers around two private-detectives roped in to a missing child case.
Ben Affleck showcased a complete control of all the inner-workings of filmmaking, but his true strength comes in the intricate plot in his screenplay. The story is structured in a way that it keeps you engaged throughout the entire running time. There are enough plot twists to keep the audience guessing where the movie is going and how it’s going to end. I honestly didn’t expect the ending. With Gone Baby Gone, Affleck proved that Good Will Hunting wasn’t a fluke.
The aspect I loved most about this movie is the theme of duty and what is right. Patrick, Casey’s character, is placed in situations throughout the movie where his moral compass is called into question. The best example I can give that doesn’t spoil the movie is when he kills a pedophile. Everyone around him is proud of him and tells him he did the right thing. But the fact that he killed another human being is eating at him. He has a strong sense of what is right and this is the very same reason he ends up alone in the end. He does what he thinks and knows is right.
This brings me to Casey’s performance as Patrick, one half of the private detectives hired by the family of the missing girl. This movie came out the same year as The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford, way too long of a title. After these two performances, audiences started to recognize that Casey could carry a movie by himself. His character, while being extremely flawed, is always in search for justice for the people who put their trust in him. He played his inner conflict very subtly, letting his body language express his thoughts to the audience, something he perfected for his Oscar winning performance in Manchester by the Sea.
Gone Baby Gone is not solely dependent on its lead, as the supporting cast hold their own. Amy Ryan plays the second half of the private detectives, as well as Patrick’s lover. Ed Harris plays the lead detective in charge of the investigation and one of the main antagonists of the story. Morgan Freeman plays the police chief and boss of Ed Harris. All of them play pivotal roles within the plot and pose moral conflicts to our protagonist.
While I find this movie extremely enjoyable with a lot of replay value, it’s far from perfect. The pacing at the beginning of the movie can be a bit slow. The over-use of voice-over narration can be annoying, especially when the scenes we are shown are enough to understand what the characters are feeling and going through without it being spoon fed. My biggest pet peeve is how one of the characters says the title of the movie. It was completely unnecessary and flat-out stupid.
Gone Baby Gone is a great addition to the neo-noir genre, and offers enough intrigue to keep any audience member engaged. Ben Affleck has gone on to demonstrate a continued growth in both his writing and directing abilities. Being able to look at the origins of a talented pair of siblings and see their roots is why I love movies.
Gone Baby Gone is currently streaming on Amazon Prime. You should watch it before it’s gone. Damn, almost made it through a full review without a single pun.
If you like this review let me know in the comment section down below. Also, follow me over at Twitter (@yILovemovies) or over on Facebook, so you can be up to date with all my reviews.