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I would consider myself to be a movie buff and I live and grew up in
Massachusetts. I must tell you that Ben Affleck has done an outstanding
job in his directorial debut. In casting his brother Casey you may
think that it's just nepotism or giving his brother a break. No. He is
the absolute perfect person to play this role. Because they know the
area they have made one of the most authentic movies I've ever seen.
And it's not just some Boston movie either. I heard a woman as I was
leaving saying it's just like The Departed. No it's not, it's much
better and the fact is, I loved The Departed. But that was flashier. As
great as it was you could tell people were acting. Not here. They
seemed exactly like the degenerates and handful of decent folk I see
every day of my life. The woman who plays the girl's mother, I don't
know who see is, but I've met her about 1000 times.
As far as the story goes I'd never spoil it for you but it's complex, not confusing. There is a lot going on and it's so real. I don't know what's happened in this area but people have become so lousy. So lousy that if you're a good person you just don't know what can be done anymore. There seems to be no answer sometimes and this film is set in that world. If you have the brains and heart to try you don't even know what will come of it.
Who should see this? Intelligent people. People who want to come out of a movie thinking about what they just saw. People who want to see an incredibly well made film. And anyone who ever liked Ben Affleck even for half a second. He should be very proud of this movie. As far as content there are loads of curse words, some drug use, but no nudity that I can remember, and there is some gun violence, but nothing too bad. Put it high on your movie going list.
Being retired I have all the time in the world to do what pleases me.
And seeing movies pleases me a lot, so much that I see almost
everything, good, regular, bad and really baaaad. Seeing a movie for me
is being at the cinema showing it, paying for my ticket, and I hardly
ever watch a movie in TV, direct or recorded. This means that in order
to keep up with my statement of seeing almost everything I go to see
movies a minimum of five and a maximum of seven days per week, and some
days I attend several movies (this is not an exaggeration), meaning
that I do get to see 250 to 300+ movies every year.
Today, 10/20/07 I was trying to decide what to see and Gone Baby Gone was not in my menu, as even though I go so often to the movies I had not seen any trailer for this movie nor heard anything about it. Perusing the newspaper the synopsis attracted me and I decided to see it. As Gone Baby Gone progressed I found myself being really pull into the story, living it together with the characters, through the splendid direction, editing and camera work. As the movie ended I thought to myself: "This is why you go see so many bad and regular movies, so you will not miss the occasional good one and the rare excellent movie".
"Gone Baby Gone" is easily the best movie I have seen this year. And that includes most of the art, foreign or indie movies that I also attend religiously. Unless something out of this world comes out in the next six weeks, this is my candidate for the Oscar to the best picture and Ben Affleck should also be nominated for best Director.
Every once in a while, amid the dross that reviewers have to sit
through, comes a movie that hits like a sucker punch to the gut and
haunts you long after you've left the theater. Such is the case with
Gone Baby Gone.
Based on the book by Dennis Lehane (Mystic River), Gone Baby Gone marks the directorial debut of Ben Affleck, who also penned the screenplay in tandem with Aaron Stockard, and easily puts him at the front of the line for Oscar contention.
Casey Affleck and Michelle Monaghan star as a pair of private investigators based in the rough working class Dorchester district of Boston. The two are hired by the family of a missing four-year-old girl to assist the police investigation because of their street connections and ability to get people to talk who otherwise would never open up to a cop. As they navigate through the neighborhood's seamy underbelly of pimps, drug dealers and crack whores they uncover an ever-expanding mystery that takes on the added dimension of provoking the question of just what is right and what is wrong, firmly pitting both story and viewer in a struggle between situational ethics and moral absolutes.
Morgan Freeman and Ed Harris round out an impressive cast, but it's the younger Affleck who takes this movie on his back and runs with it, easily surpassing his director brother in terms of acting breadth and range. This is no slight to Ben, however. It's been a long time since I was this impressed with a directorial debut, and even longer since I was given cause to reflect upon the values that we hold dear as individuals and a society, and the moral foundations upon which they are based. Gone Baby Gone manages both, and wraps it up in a hard-hitting detective story that serves as much to satisfy the baser urges of bar fights and gun play, as it does tackling bigger issues.
It's also one of those rare movies in which it can easily be said that the less you know about the story going in, the richer the experience. There's no clear twist ending to give away, but rather a layered story that unfolds like a Russian stacking doll with a moral dilemma at its core.
One thing I do feel comfortable revealing, however, is that this movie comes about as close as any can to being a bonafide lock come Academy Award time. Congrats Ben, you may well have redeemed yourself from your J-Lo/Gigli reputation at last.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
After a decade of critically disgraced performances and brutal public
humiliation year after year, Ben Affleck took a well deserved break
from the Hollywood scene. This year he came back, but instead of taking
the spotlight by starring in a film, he went behind the scenes and
opted to direct his first feature film. Taking an example from another
actor turned director, a little independent man named Clint Eastwood,
he decided to adapt a novel written by Mystic River author Dennis
Lehane. On the surface, Gone Baby Gone tells the story of a missing
child and the two private investigators who are hired to find her. The
story transforms into a highly disturbing tale of selfish, terrifying
characters and the fact that no matter what people never change.
In deciding who to play the leading role of the intelligent, reserved, moral and slightly naive Patrick Kenzie, Ben looked no further than his brother Casey. Initially this may seem like a bad idea with lots of sibling tension on the set, but the decision couldn't have been a better one. After years of under-the-radar brilliance, Casey gets to show his acting genius in the leading role of a powerful, emotionally drenching work. I love the fact that everyone is finally getting to see what a true wonder this young actor is, with talent greater than the majority of actors I've ever seen no matter what their age. He's getting a large amount of critical recognition for his flawless turn in The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford, but he is almost as exceptional in this one. Counterbalancing Kenzie is his mature and equally intelligent partner and lover, Angie Gennaro played by the beautiful Michelle Monaghan. The two of them grew up on the streets of Boston and therefore are pursued to use their relationships with the criminals involved to help find the men who kidnapped this little girl. This leads the audience on a highly engaging and very disturbing journey through the lowest forms of scum in the Boston population and a climax that is just as surprising as it is haunting.
The second half starts with another missing person's case and Kenzie discovers something that forces him to bring back Detective Remy Bressant (Ed Harris), a character who he didn't end on the best of terms with in the first act. In an act of high tension and in the face of an ultimate evil, Kenzie makes a decision that he immediately regrets and is the first time he really matures in the film and falls into a moral crisis as he witnesses the true personalities of those around him and re-evaluates everything in his life. A conversation with Bressant soon after this act provides a stage for Ed Harris' remarkable display of talent in one of his career best performances. However a revelation Kenzie makes during this conversation leads us into an even darker world of corruption within the police, back to the victims of the original crime and a lesson that sometimes the most morally righteous can people can do terrifying things if they believe it is for the greater good.
Another stirring revelation leads Affleck to the film's second big twist that I didn't see coming from a mile away. He finds moral corruption, again 'for the greater good', in the most unexpected place and is led to one of the most arduous and unimaginable decisions I've ever seen put on film. I won't spoil anything, but it's safe to say that this was the first and only time I've ever put myself in the shoes of a character on screen and wondered what I would do in his situation. It's a decision I don't think I could ever make, and one of the most painful scenes of the year. Watching Affleck's expression and the pain in his eyes is truly gutwrenching. In his decision we eventually see that even in the most emotionally straining situations and no matter how much they say they will, people never change. I found that to be the final moral of the film, and the ending was haunting, cathartic and emotionally painful as we see Kenzie living with the fact that maybe his decision was the wrong one but he still tries to do the morally just thing in the end.
Ben Affleck has come back strong to the Hollywood scene by avoiding public humiliation and realizing that the film would be miles superior if he directed instead of starred in it. There is one minor flaw in this feature, and that is that it felt to me like three different films. There are two clear cut endings, but the film picks back up afterwards on the road to the final conclusion. With each new story comes depth and disturbance from the characters and overall plot, so one can easily ignore this very minuscule flaw. His casting was flawless from the stunning magnificence of Casey Affleck to the Oscar-worthy Ed Harris to the critically praised grieving mother Amy Ryan. Gone Baby Gone is certainly one of the best films this year, and I hope it's not forgotten come awards season, particularly in the form of it's reborn director and flawless leading man (as well as the rest of this multi-talented cast). A deeply disturbing and thoroughly engaging picture that is sure to stay on my mind for days.
When I went into the theater to see Gone Baby Gone, Casey Affleck was
not what I pictured when I read Dennis Lehane's Patrick Kenzie novels.
But he won me over and will now forever be Kenzie as far as I'm
Gone Baby Gone is a tough and gritty movie about a child abduction and the lives it destroys. You can see the end coming a little too early in the movie, but it's still fascinating watching Kenzie slog through a lot of awful stuff before you get there. Ben Affleck has proved that he can direct a movie with the best of them. There was nothing slack or boring for the entire running time, and the ending will give you something to argue about over dinner after watching the movie.
The best detective movie I've seen in a while.
It's become a hobby of mine this past year to watch IMDb's top 250,
AFI's top 100 and all Oscar winning (and most nominated) films. I've
seen over 100 films in just the past year alone, but I am struggling to
think of a film that I enjoyed more.
The performances are outstanding. All of the characters- including the city itself - are filled with depth and ambiguity. Like a previous post mentioned, Amy Ryan did a phenomenal job as Helene, not only do I know many people like her, I'm related to some. I didn't even recognize her from her wonderful performance in the Wire.
The questions that this movie asks as it unfolds do not get answered in by the closing credits, and they still aren't answered as I type. Who was right? Is there a right answer? Morgan Freeman- the greatest actor alive- and Ed Harris give standard upper echelon performances. But I was surprised by Michelle Monaghan and especially Casey Affleck. He didn't flinch, and he didn't compromise his ideals, but in the end compromised nonetheless. I hope he gets a nomination.
Ben Affleck lost my favor somewhere around the time he began to cry in Armageddon, and I haven't taken him seriously since. But his achievement here, the pace, the mood, the spot on capturing of the desolate neighborhood, and the overall story leads me to anxiously await his next directorial effort.
The best film I've seen in years.
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.
Anytime a movie can get you to pause and consider a moral dilemma (what would I have done?) while watching it definitely deserves a high mark in my book!! This movie showed the very raw, mean streets of Boston's underbelly and didn't sugar-coat anything. I liked that it was real and not made all pretty for film as in so many other films of late. I have/will recommend this movie to all my friends. Kudos to Casey Affleck, Morgan Freeman and Ed Harris. This was, so far, the best movie I've seen in 2007. I haven't been impressed with Ben Affleck in front of the camera, but maybe he's found his niche - behind the camera? Just go see it.
"Gone Baby, Gone" is one of the best films of the year. It is being
compared to "Mystic River" and "The Departed" because it takes place in
Boston, but I actually liked it better than either of those films.
The opening credits start with the camera showing close ups of people's faces. The close ups are a recurring theme throughout the movie. It's because this is not just a film about a child kidnapping. It is a film about people and that is what lifts this film above so many others.
Director Ben Affleck shows confidence and style in his first film. After this, he does not need to perform in any more films. He is a much better writer and director than he is an actor.
All the performances in the film are superb. Casey Affleck has to carry the film and he does a great job. He is a stoic, deadpan, detective. But unlike the Noir detectives of the past, he is not a loner. He has a lot of friends and he has his girlfriend played by Michelle Monaghan help with the investigation. He uses his connections to find out things the police cannot.
Beyond that, the less you know the better.
If you like crime dramas that also work as character studies, you should run out and see "Gone Baby, Gone."
I had wanted to see this movie for sometime now. I have finally gotten
to see it and can tell you it is no disappointment. This movie had a
particular touch that gave a genuine and authentic feeling to it. Ben
Affleck has a way of writing about life on the streets in Boston that
just grabs you. Good Will Hunting was a fine example of that but Gone
Baby Gone displayed his directing abilities as well. This movie
appeared that it could fall apart any second but yet the story held up
and managed to get its message out. Ben Affleck seems to be very
creative and knows how to get your attention right when he want you to.
I had not expected Casey Affleck to play as well either because there were so many compliments made toward his performance I expected something totally different. Yet he also brought this authenticity in his acting like Ben did in his directing. Youn could just see the look in his eyes that he was totally into it, he was it. He gave a great portrayal of a detective that should have earned him an Oscar nomination. Also a great supporting cast was put in place with Morgan Freeman, Ed Harris and Amy Ryan. All of them gave engaging performances as well. Amy Ryan especially with her performance as the mother of her girl who is the centerpiece of this story. I believe if it was not for her this movie could have very easily fallen into an ordinary movie.
What really made up the movie was the message. After all what is a movie without a message. This movie did not try to pretend to be deep or try to impress. It did what it had to do, asking the a very tough question. Is the right thing to do always the right decision to make and do the ends justify the means? I advise you not to miss this movie and definitely watch this with a friend or family member.
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