When 4 year old Amanda McCready disappears from her home and the police make little headway in solving the case, the girl's aunt Beatrice McCready hires two private detectives Patrick Kenzie and Angie Gennaro. The detectives freely admit that they have little experience with this type of case, but the family wants them for two reasons - they're not cops and they know the tough Boston neighborhood in which they all live. As the case progresses, Kenzie and Gennaro face drug dealers, gangs and pedophiles. When they are about to solve their case, they are faced with a moral dilemma that could tear them apart. Written by
In the article "Cop Father of Slain Child Vows: 'Never Again,'" the byline credits the newspaper as "The Bosotn Globe." See more »
I always believed it was the things you don't choose that makes you who you are. Your city, your neighborhood, your family. People here take pride in these things, like it was something they'd accomplished. The bodies around their souls, the cities wrapped around those. I lived on this block my whole life; most of these people have. When your job is to find people who are missing, it helps to know where they started. I find the people who started in the cracks and then fell through...
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In his directorial debut, Ben Affleck has completely morphed himself into an emerging artist and even more challenging director. Gone Baby Gone might be the most innovative and moral challenging film of recent years. This is the story of young Amanda, a little girl who mysteriously disappears from her home and the activity and dangers that befall upon the people involved in her finding.
The film stars Affleck's brother Casey as Patrick, in his most challenging and engrossing performance to date. Not since Sean Penn in Mystic River has a role been so subdued yet immensely victorious and depth defying in choice of delivery and spot on emotions. Casey Affleck has paved the way for himself in roles that demonstrate the actor's showcase and give the performer range. It's a bit odd what to make of the younger Affleck in the upcoming awards season. He fairs a better shot for his earlier raved performance in The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford for a nomination, but his performance in Gone Baby Gone is far more superior. Especially with upcoming prospects such as Daniel Day-Lewis, Johnny Depp and other big name talents, it'll be a tough road ahead for him.
Ed Harris, who's been long "overdue" for Oscar recognition is purely haunting in his role as Remy, a hard-nosed cop looking for young Amanda. In one scene in particular, Harris shines and gives his best portrayal since The Hours. Although his character is a bit one-dimensional, Harris elevates the material and turns it into his show and steals frame after frame in a role easily lost in a picture like this.
Morgan Freeman, in a role we have not seen him in before, plays Captain Jack Doyle, the head of the missing persons unit with personal experience in the loss of a child. Freeman, although absent for most of the narrative, sugar coats the top acting talent in the picture. Freeman's agenda into more range projects in his older career is reaffirming his Oscar win in 2003 for Million Dollar Baby, but now with the more rewarding films worthy of consideration.
Michelle Monaghan who's a bit of an unknown face, plays Angie, Patrick's significant other who's personal fears interfere with her involvement in the case. To be honest, Monaghan gets lost in the shuffle and while the audience empathizes with her throughout the latter of the film, she's placed into a role easily overshadowed by stronger characters. Perhaps being the only strong woman role would have gave us something to awe at, but not with the guns at full blaze at the hands of Amy Ryan.
Ryan plays Amanda's mother Helene, definitely not the most likable of characters but tragic in character arc. It's like a full on tennis match going back and forth with Ryan and audience; the viewer is hating her one moment and then needing to hold her the next. Helene is multi-layered and grasps her own importance of parenting and the whole film it becomes a fallen angel lost in the fire. That is the tragedy of the film, a film not only about the loss of a little girl, but the loss of innocence and the torment that betrayal, guilt and corruption can weigh on our souls.
Ben Affleck is completely in control of this film, which he has lacked in his performances often. He knows what the mission is of this picture and would gladly take a spot amongst some bigger, older talents among Oscar prospects this year. Along with Co-adapting the film with Aaron Stockard, if Oscar is feeling like inviting Affleck to the Kodak, the screenplay category seems like a better fit, especially with an already win for Good Will Hunting. Other possibilities for consideration is wonderful cinematography by John Toll and a great musical score by Harry Gregson-Williams.
Comparisons to Mystic River are all about, being done by the same author how could we expect no less. Mystic River had more of the message of the domino effect of one's actions on others, Gone Baby Gone brings it to a new level. This film is about a society, a society who has lost the importance of innocence and the beauty of life. It focuses on the beauty of children and rest assure, when the film is over, if you're not yearning to be a better parent of embrace a child as a blessing, there is probably emptiness in your chest. This film is marvelous, beautiful and spectacular. A must-see film of the year and a pleasant surprise coming from Ben Affleck.
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