Gone Baby Gone (2007) Poster

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10/10
When Keeping It Real Goes Right
the_Poppuns19 October 2007
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.
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9/10
Great Baby Great
RussyPelican24 October 2007
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 concerned.

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.
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10/10
Ben Affleck crafts a disturbing emotional adaptation.
dead4754822 October 2007
Warning: 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.
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8/10
Will Keep You Debating On What Is Truly Right
alexkolokotronis16 February 2008
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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10/10
A masterpiece
Craig McPherson21 October 2007
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.
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10/10
I was surprised at this movie being so good
Mangel Aviliux20 October 2007
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.
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9/10
WOW, Better than I expected
ssflady196320 October 2007
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.
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9/10
Into the depths
mikekuch20 October 2007
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.
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10/10
Gone but Never Forgotten
Clayton Davis20 October 2007
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.

Grade: ****/****
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9/10
One of the Year's Best
Brent Trafton20 October 2007
"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."
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7/10
See it before it's gone, baby, gone!
brefane12 November 2007
Ben Affleck's impressive directorial debut features some remarkably naturalistic performances, a genuine sense of locale, and an atmosphere of despair and hopelessness that becomes a major antagonist. An honestly downbeat film, it portrays a mode of existence where nothing is black or white, and it is that gray area that the film explores so effectively even if I find the story from Dennis Leheane's novel to be a bit far-fetched and convoluted. More than The Departed, Mystic River, and Peter Yates' The Friends of Eddie Coyle, Gone, Baby, Gone understands the inter-relationship among cops, criminals, and a neighborhood as they search for a missing child. Though the boyish Casey Affleck is arguably miscast as Patrick, a character who was more mature in the novel, his performance cannot be faulted and by the end he has won us over. The last scene is particularly resonant. Though well-known actors such as Ed Harris and Morgan Freeman are expectedly good, it is the performances of an unknown supporting cast that gives the film a disturbing authenticity. And Amy Ryan as the child's mother gives a trenchant performance. Director Affleck maintains an admirable tone of objectivity and compassion throughout, and he has made a film that is worthy of your time. Go!Baby!Go!
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9/10
Ben hit a commercial and social home run !
a-d-resource3 October 2007
Warning: Spoilers
People everywhere cringe at the thought of their child being abducted. Anyone who has watched any of the prime-time news channels in the last several years can see that every major news network devotes huge amounts of time to abduction and kidnapping stories. This is a clear reflection of the heart and conscience of a global society today. Every single human has a family, and knows from a primal understanding that all children are innocent, and are dependent on 2 parents and their extended families to protect them, teach them, and guide them down a path toward independence in the world.

This movie raises one of many important questions in a long overlooked subject ….children's rights.

I was happy to see that when facing a tough decision of how to end the movie, Ben Affleck decided to choose for the rights of the child. In a discussion after the directors screening I attended, Ben said "in real life, you never know if it's right or wrong, but you have to take a side, and live with the consequences". Casey Affleck said "any other choice would be crazy and irresponsible…you can't take kids". Amy Ryan said "lets help the parents "(who need help), "its about breaking the cycle". Clearly working on this film has raised these actors / director personal awareness on the issue of child abduction. As I am sure this movie will for all who see it.

As the father of an abducted child, and a person who has devoted most of my life to this work since my daughter was abducted, I have to say that this film ….from beginning to end, handled such a challenging subject with a sensitivity and completeness. I am very impressed… and Ben has made me a believer in his work. Ben Affleck and Aaron Stockard definitely did their due diligence in real research. There are many important aspects of real world abductions handled well here….and it is all in a Hollywood movie that contains the kind of action and drama and intrigue, that filmmakers seem to have to use to get the tickets sold.

I was especially impressed with the coming of age of the character Casey played, Patrick …a guy who didn't exactly know where he fit in his community, until he decided "I'm gonna bring her home". With a certain naivete' in the world , he is driven to stand by his principles. The line "I believe the government when they tell me something" explains him well. But eventually he has a moment of clarity and growth and says "I must have remembered it wrong". This is the moment of his acceptance that the government, corrupt police, and anyone ….is fallible and has shortcomings. We all have personal and political agendas that if backed into a corner, will defend, right or wrong, and the rest of the world can't change that. Its a moment that defines the rest of his life.

Amy Ryan does a great job playing her character… a bad role-model for a parent. Those stereotypes on Jerry Springer exist in real life, and they have children. Many are not able to put the children first in their lives, for whatever the reason. All of us probably live near one.

My hat is off entirely to Ben Affleck and all. Children seem to be able to survive incredible events and trauma. They seem to rebound against all odds without obvious damage sometimes. In the end, all will be revealed. But for now …. We are left to ask ourselves and those around us ….When that child grows up, and finds out that he or she was abducted, or when that abducted child says "they stole me"...... Who will stand up and answer for and apologize to her for not helping to return her to her lawful parents? Definitely go see the movie ,

Patrick Braden October 2 2007
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1/10
Beyond Boring
carolinephillips24 June 2017
South Park warned us that Ben Affleck was annoying and horrible to watch on screen - say hello to his brother! If his depressing voice isn't enough to kill this movie, it's his awful acting. When will Hollywood stop producing movies with these two? I feel sorry for every actor in this movie that had to listen to his voice.
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8/10
People Cannot Choose, but They Are Fruit of Their Town, Neighborhood and Family
Claudio Carvalho13 May 2008
Warning: Spoilers
The tough private eyes Patrick Kenzie (Casey Affleck) was raised in a poor and dangerous neighborhood of Boston, and works with his partner and girlfriend Angie Gennaro (Michelle Monaghan) generally tracking missing losers in debt. When the four year-old Amanda McCready (Madeline O'Brien) is abducted from her apartment, her aunt Beatrice 'Bea' McCready (Amy Madigan) calls the police and the press, and the case is highlighted with the spots by the media. Then Bea hires the reluctant Patrick to work in the case because he is not a cop and based on his great knowledge of their neighborhood. Meanwhile Capt. Jack Doyle (Morgan Freeman), who lost his own daughter many years ago and is in charge of the investigation, assigns detectives Remy Bressant (Ed Harris) and Nick Pole (John Ashton) to give the necessary support to Patrick. After interviewing the addicted low life mother of Amanda, Helene McCready (Amy Ryan), Patrick goes to a bar and discloses that Helene was on the streets with her boyfriend Skinny Ray Likanski (Sean Malone) dealing and using drugs on the day Amanda disappeared. Along his investigation, Patrick faces smalltime criminals, drug dealers, pedophiles and corruption, facing a moral issue to solve the case.

"Gone Baby Gone" is an impressive debut of Ben Affleck as director of feature. The story is original, supported by an outstanding screenplay with several plot points and a polemic conclusion, and the performances are great. The moral and ethical codes of the lead character Patrick Kenzie seem to follow his thoughts, when he says that people cannot choose, but they are fruit of their town, neighborhood and family. His polemical and controversial decision in the end, right or wrong, selfish or right, is certainly another attraction in this great film. My vote is eight.

Title (Brazil): "Medo da Verdade" ("Afraid of the Truth")
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7/10
It's Not What I want Out Of A Story
The_Defiant111 November 2007
Warning: Spoilers
This is an extremely well made movie. It is an extremely well acted movie. Despite being well done and telling a captivating story, it just isn't what I want from a story or a movie in general. Patrick Kenzie (Casey Affleck) and Angie Gennaro (Michelle Monaghan) are called in as private detectives by a family to investigate a missing child report. Jack Doyle (Morgan Freeman)and Detective Remy Bressant (Ed Harris) represent the reluctant, yet cooperative police department that works hand in hand with the private detectives. The story evolves as a mystery leading the viewer along as everyone sifts through the lies and cover-ups. While this story is quite emotional and disturbing at times, the final message is a bit anti-climactic. It comes across more as a social statement directed towards an American subculture than it does being a plausible series of events. In the end, it just all seems pointless. It isn't a bad movie, it just isn't how I'd want to spend 2 hours of leisure time. Casey Affleck does a great job at keeping the story on track. Michelle Monaghan plays a convincing girlfriend/assistant. Ed Harris & Morgan Freeman never skip a beat on making you feel distressed about the little girl being lost. The ending just made me not care about how well it was acted and composed. Ben Affleck's role as director and screenplay writer seems to be invisible just as it should be. Anyone wishing to praise him or criticize his role, should spend their time reviewing his past work, not this piece.
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7/10
Flawed film with a great deal of promise
It is now largely forgotten that Ben Affleck's big break was not as an actor in but as a writer of "Good Will Hunting". His career has never lived up to the promise of his performance in that film (a quiet and subtle display) and has been overshadowed by the success of his friend and co-Oscar-winner, Matt Damon. With "Gone Baby Gone", Affleck moves back behind the camera, directing and writing, whilst his brother Casey, who really impressed in "The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford", takes the lead.

The film is a gritty thriller at first, with a quite masterful opening which is engrossing and effective. The sense of location is evident from the start and both Afflecks demonstrate their talents. Casey is an interesting screen presence, and Ben is an unfussy director with an eye for location and images.

The film is served well be the stellar cast. Ed Harris is very good, as is Michelle Monaghan and the Oscar nominated Amy Ryan is fantastic, whilst Morgan Freeman is Morgan Freeman, which is nice. They do make the film easy to watch, even though the subject matter, focussing on child abduction, is difficult to deal with.

However, although the subject matter is treated well throughout most of the film, its fatal flaw is that it lets itself go in the third act. The plot twists and turns three times toward the end to lose nearly all credibility and then loses any that it had left by landing on a truly unbelievable conclusion. Its focus on character is not lost, but it is still a disappointment to see such a tightly played drama unwind at the end.

Nevertheless, this film has much promise. Its subject matter should be a consideration for anyone who is thinking of seeing this, but it is an intelligent and interesting film which is worth watching, mainly because of what it might be the precursor of.
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5/10
Where have all the screenwriters gone?
lhhung_himself22 December 2007
The idea behind this film is fundamentally a good one - which is not surprising since it is based on a novel. And despite the horribly clichéd, implausible and convoluted screenplay, some of those original ideas remain. Also, to be fair, there are some nice moments in the film and it does not go Spielberg on us.

But, there seems to be a trend - maybe they all learn it in screen writing school - to focus on a couple of key scenes that need to be told and to put as many twists in the story as possible to get there, Realistic dialog, believable characters, plausible behavior, pacing, logic, good storytelling - these don't seem to matter as long as we get that Oscar winning scene and those unexpected (actually very predictable) twists.

This could have been a good movie with tighter editing and better storytelling to connect the Oscar moments - as it is - it makes about as much sense as a Steven Seagal movie and at least there you've got some cheap thrills...
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6/10
Overrated but mildly worthwhile
D A13 January 2008
A somewhat entertaining morality drama of the Hollywood variety, this baby doesn't really get going until the convoluted first and second acts are played out, culminating in a more emotionally involving conclusion. Speckled with much homegrown Bah-stonian flavor, the newfound directorial talents of big bro Ben Affleck to portray the city he loves with a notion of gritty integrity perhaps overwhelms with some shiftily stereotypical minor characters- both in look and delivery, but the core cast remain strong enough to let the overcooked plot come to a gentle simmer when we finally are able to understand what all the messy details add up to. The result is certainly far shy of the riveting, infinitely ponderous conclusion some have suggested, but still absolutely enough to make for a decent night of serious entertainment for mainstream American audiences.
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8/10
Often, doing the right thing isn't so simple.
lewiskendell17 August 2010
"I will hate you for doing this, and I don't want to."

There have been a lot of solid movies set in Boston in recent years, but Gone Baby Gone tops even The Departed and Mystic River, as good as they both were. What starts off as a story about a missing child evolves into one of the most thought provoking and genuinely compelling movies that I've seen.

Ben Affleck has real talent as a director, and did an excellent job of maintaining the authenticity of both the story of the Dennis Lehane novel and the neighborhood that it's set in. Casey Affleck, Michelle Monaghan, Ed Harris, Morgan Freeman, and Amy Ryan were all perfectly cast, and give stellar performances.

Gone Baby Gone is just one of those movies that it's hard to find a flaw with. It's expertly made, sticks with you, and doesn't offer any easy answers. Highly recommended. 
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1/10
Tortuous just got a new definition
CineCritic251722 December 2007
Warning: Spoilers
  • If you haven't seen this movie, don't read the second paragraph. -


This will be a short review addressed to people who like their movies with some sort of logic or plausibility to it: please save yourself the agony and watch something else.

Between all the muffled dialog and me being forced to rewind scenes over and over since my copy of the DVD did not come with working subtitles, there was a story unfolding. The story of a missing kid and a rooky detective asked to investigate. Fine. What isn't so fine is that after the ordeal of so many moments of "huh? , come again? and who did What? I have to find out that the kid was actually kidnapped by the head of a police-department through a complicated scheme because he didn't think the mother to be a fit parent and decided he himself would raise her in stead?????? COME AGAIN?? I just spend two hours concentrating, adjusting my sound, rewinding the DVD, adjusting the sound some more, looking for copies of the script on the Internet only to be served this lame excuse of a plot? Jeezz, and there I was thinking that Oceans 13 was badly written...

I'm an avid moviegoer, I see at least 5 movies a week but lately I've been fallen prey to so many most incredibly weak stories/plots and or scripts in films that nevertheless get acclaim by professional critics and the general audience, that I don't know what to say..

Seriously, If they are not bothered by such poor storytelling or in this case the essence of the plot, then why oh why didn't get Oceans 13 the Oscar nods it then surely deserves. Or even better, let's give all movies an Oscar for simply being produced and get it over with. And forget the rating systems like here on IMDb, simply give all movies a ten. I mean, who's really paying attention anyway.

I'm sorry, but I still think that a film's story is the most important aspect to it at least when it's not a slasherflick or something otherwise made for lowbrow-entertainment. Good acting, cinematography and all the other feats are there to help bring the story alive, make it believable and raise it to higher grounds.

Guess I am alone on that one.

Man, what a waste of time and effort.

1/10
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1/10
Dreadfully Bad
roughridersno2023 February 2008
Warning: Spoilers
Spoiler Alert So the sanctimonious prick lead character can murder someone in cold blood and participate in a drug deal but also feels the moral compulsion to turn in the good-hearted cop who was trying to offer that poor little girl a better life? God that was stupid!

Why are critics praising the acting in this film? Casey Affleck was horrible! Ed Harris was ridiculously over the top. Morgan Freeman phoned in his performance. And really, how hard is it to pretend to be a bad mother?

Ben Affleck is no better behind the camera than in front of it. His script is full of some of the worst dialog this side of The Phantom Menace, and while I won't blame the story on him as it is based on a novel, it was boring and preposterous! And while I commend the use of Guns N' Roses music in any film you should probably avoid having lyrics play directly over dialog, even if it is inane dialog.

If you can't tell, I hated this movie.
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1/10
Bad Baby Bad
dugerman8511 September 2009
Where do I begin? I read several positive reviews about this film that made it sound interesting and poignant. It was apparently meant to be a film about dilemma that was primarily designed to make the viewer reflex on its message and think about their' own moral decision making. What would you do, type of thing. By the time the moral of the story came – I no longer cared. The film was a huge disappointment. First of all, the story is confusing and disjointed. Ben Affleck directs like he acts – like a teenager with A.D.D. The characters were uninteresting, unmotivated and miscast. Casey Affleck (Patrick Kenzie) as a private eye looks more like Dookie Howser than Mike Hammer. He tries so hard to master the Boston accent that he is difficult to understand - not that he has anything interesting to say. So little time is spent on character development that the viewer doesn't really care about who any of these people are or what happens to them. Michelle Monaghan literally sleep walks through her role as Affleck's girlfriend and partner, muttering a few phrases occasionally so you won't mistake her for a mannequin, but so uninspired that one wonders who she was cozy with to get the role. (I think you can all figure out how Casey Affleck got the lead role). Ed Harris, who is a good actor, does his best with the uninspired dialogue but his efforts are wasted on a part that no one could have saved. Most disappointing of all is Morgan Freemen's role as Jack Doyle. Morgan appears as an aging police official – who looks to be about 80 – who for some reason "lost" a 12 year old daughter. OK, that's possible, but improbable. While his name appears prominently in the advertisements for this debacle, Freeman's character shows up in about 5 minutes of the actual film. In conclusion, the acting is second rate, the characters inadequately developed and the story poorly told. Gone Baby Gone should have been titled Bad Baby Bad –it stunk.
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1/10
Rating is completely misleading
LiquidSmoke9 March 2008
Ben Affleck... better stick to acting and don't even dream about directing ever again. This movie is such a disappointment and the rating is completely misleading.

In spite of having seasoned fellas such as Morgan Freeman and Ed Harris, This movie is a perfect example of " what a bad director can do to a decent plot and with some amazing actors". Apart from awful directing, it also has some pathetic screenplay ever written. Most of the lines don't fit in with the mood of the scene. Ben has some how managed get some forgettable performances from Freeman and Harris.

Last... But not the least, Casey Affleck. Ben has tried to show his lil bro Casey as a super cool stud with some hard hitting lines. But then... The lines don't fit in and Casey's dialog delivery is very amateur to say the least. I actually felt like... I was watching a Bollywood B Grade movie for a while and wish i could give it a big 0.
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5/10
Freak Show with doubtful messages
criscal6 December 2007
Warning: Spoilers
I was giving Ben Affleck a chance showing better competence as director than he was showing as actor - and I regret it. I was thinking that 8 out of 10 points on the rank was indicating a great movie. The Boston area where the story is set and its inhabitant is staged like a Freak Show for people living in better areas to shudder and be happy to not live there - a tad too much paint I would say. The movie seems to convey several doubtful messages: that child molesters are never stopping their doings anyway - teaming up even, that self-justice is excusable and what is worst - that stealing kids from bad mothers is justified. I haven't read the book, but the movie doesn't seem to want to motivate the private detective's (Michelle Monaghan) feeling concerning stealing the child. The usual corrupt cops topic doesn't require any additional comment really. As a last comment: I wouldn't have been surprised if Jennifer Lopez had taken a role in this movie to make it a truly Bennifer experience of a movie.
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10/10
Affleck's Vengeance
aslett26 May 2011
Ben Affleck must be kicking himself. I'm sure it passed through his mind when he was making particularly empty vehicles as an actor and turning in self-conscious performances as Daredevils and Dick heroes that he wasn't enriching the history of cinema and had somehow joined the Forces of Evil, conspiring against the wellbeing of humanity by cashing in on a watery culture of cinematic mediocrity. He knows that film at its best can make the world a better place – somehow. It is implicit in the script of Good Will Hunting. Then Hollywood came along and tried to tell him otherwise and he forgot, like those flawed heroes who become mired in just getting by everyday after their fall from grace. Well, consider Gone Baby Gone his vengeance. It is superb. Immensely detailed, textured and nuanced he uses his own brother Casey as his alter ego to confront a world mired in selfishness and deception. The Afflecks will attempt to do what is right, what is good, and yet……! It is the "and yet…..!" that makes this film so special even beyond the great performances of pretty much every actor in the show. Casey Affleck and Michelle Monaghan play Patrick and Angie, life partners as well as professional partners in their business of private detectives. They are hired by the relatives of a child who has been kidnapped from her drug-using irresponsible mother (Amy Ryan playing Helene McCready in one of those turns that is unfortunately so richly convincing you don't actually think she is acting). Patrick may be street wise but there is a youth and innocence to him that makes the viewer feel protective. Those hand-picked masters of gravitas, Morgan Freeman and Ed Harris play 'the grown ups' as it were. Freeman is the police chief who has suffered a young daughter being murdered in the past and at first appears as a minor character in it all. Harris plays Remy Bressant, the seasoned cop working with colleague Nic Poole (John Ashton) obliged to share their findings with the young pair. The relationship proves to be mutually beneficial as they delve inside the shabby crime kingdom of Boston with its drug lynch pins, hustlers, thugs and users. From a Dennis Lehane novel the script by Affleck (Ben) and Aaron Stockard handsomely builds up the detail and complexity of the story. Affleck knows how to make a scene count and there are stings and zingers throughout this two hour movie that make each word and image essential and watchable. The writers also take a big chance with structure, chucking the (recently) time-honored three act system out the window, as the film is divided into two halves. It is a risk to take nowadays as audiences are so used to the set up, but it pays off because of the density of events and - that rare thing nowadays – real character development. At the heart is Casey Affleck's prickly boyish persona, both strong and brittle, a resolute and doubting crusader, vulnerable and untouchable, a sinner or a saint in the making.

While I'm reminded of those early Scorcese films that weave Catholic hope and guilt between urban conflict, Gone Baby Gone manages to produce a new level of sophistication. Scorcese heroes are iconic and distant. Affleck is within arms reach. This is a crime genre film that is reflective without forgetting the viewer, dealing with the lives of ordinary Americans as if they mattered, brimming with compassion, while still managing to be a cinematic ride of craft, invention and mature intelligence.

Yep, Affleck must be kicking himself for wasting so much time letting less capable people shape his offerings to film when all the while he should have been at the helm himself. I hope he has learned his lesson. Loved it.
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