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Gone Baby Gone: A Review

Posted in Reviews with tags , , on November 10, 2008 by babydylan



Having made the conscious decision to direct Gone Baby Gone because of his familiarity and affection for the Boston Setting, it should come as no surprise that Ben Affleck’s directorial debut should be seeped in sympathy for the people it shows on screen.

Patrick Kenzie (wonderfully portrayed by Casey Affleck) has just barely escaped his  fate in a setting that encourages discontent and complacency, and as Kenzie’s sympathetic opening monologue concludes, we understand that he is a “sheep among wolves” relishing in his role as a private detective, so as he can “find those who began on the cracks, and then fell through”. The opening montage, in which Kenzie walks through the Boston streets looking at the real people who live there, is one of the more poignant beginnings to a film I have seen in awhile.

When Kenzie and his partner/girlfriend (Michelle Monaghan, beautifully cast), are asked to investigate the abduction of local toddler Amanda, Kenzie’s familiarity with the public gives his detective work credibility. His association with Remy Bressant (Ed Harris) a hard-boiled detective also working the case gives the film a new direction, as does the apparent ’loyalty’ of the police involved, that gradually disintegrates as the film goes on.

Because of this, the comparisons to Film Noir are not unjustified, as each character is afflicted with indecision that gives them a degree of vulnerable interiority. They are alone in a corrupt world, and as the film moves towards the truth of Amanda’s kidnapping, and the films stirring conclusion, the audience is swept along with the humanity of the characters.

A beautifully told story on every level, Gone Baby Gone resonates with its similarities to the Madeline McCann kidnapping case that delayed its release. The acting of all involved is a standout; especially Oscar nominee Amy Ryan as Amanda’s mother, and the films concise co-writing and direction by Ben Affleck elevates it from its potential as a TV Movie of the Week. See this film now, if you can. It is a morally complex, intelligent, taught thriller that is seeped with a realism and humanity. Much like the characters in the Boston setting, you may find yourself lost in the world of the film, struggling to break out.