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RELEASED: 2007, Cert. 15
RUNNING TIME: Approx. 115 mins
DIRECTOR: Ben Affleck
PRODUCERS: Sean Bailey, Alan Ladd Jr. & Dan Rissner
SCREENPLAY: Ben Affleck & Aaron Stockard
MUSIC: Harry Gregson-Williams
Casey Affleck as Patrick Kenzie
Michelle Monaghan as Angie Gennaro
Morgan Freeman as Jack Doyle
Ed Harris as Remy Bressant
John Ashton as Nick Poole
Amy Ryan as Helene McCready
Amy Madican as Bea McCready
Titus Welliver as Lionel McCready
Michael Kenneth Williams as Devin
Edi Gathegi as Cheese
Slaine as Bubba
FILM ONLY REVIEW
Based on Dennis Lehane's novel of presumably the same name, Gone Baby Gone begins with the disappearance of a little girl from a rough neighbourhood in Boston, MA. As the police are unable to come up with much, the girl's aunt calls upon private investigators Patrick Kenzie and his girlfriend Angie Gennaro who is also his working partner, to help try and find the missing child.
Patrick and Angie agree to work on the case, and as they delve into Helene's (the little girl's mother) lifestyle, they find themselves embroiled in a world of drug-dealing, dirty money, paedophilia and murder.
Can Patrick and Angie manage to find the child and secure her from whoever has taken her?
That sets the scene very loosely and as ever, you must watch it yourself to find out what happens.
I made the decision to watch Gone Baby Gone as the novel was written by the same author as for one of my all-time favourite films, Mystic River, in the hopes of spoiling myself with some quality entertainment. I'd also read a few reviews on various internet websites, noting that most people seem to have really enjoyed it.
The opening to Gone Baby Gone grabbed my interest straight away and I was rather impressed with the acting of Amy Ryan as Helene McCready, the missing little girl's dope-head mother. I was expecting to find Casey Affleck's performance rather mind-blowing, but although it was very good, I had quite a lot of problems in understanding what he was saying, especially during the first part of the film....and, he came across pretty much the same as he does in the 2010 film, The Killer Inside Me. However, aside from his mumbled vocal offerings, he was otherwise very good, as was the whole of the rest of the cast.
As far as the film score is concerned, I am unable to pass comment or opinion as I simply didn't notice it, despite trying to here and there. Perhaps it blended well into the film and became an actual part of it rather than a musical support system, and if so, that's probably why I had no awareness of it.
The whole mood of Gone Baby Gone is rather tense, being dark and brooding in parts and the hostility of Boston's underworld is put across very well - but, this is one of those films where they should have put the lights on in quite a few crucial scenes as it was so difficult for me to work out what was going on, and I thus here and there lost the plot more than I'd have liked to.
I found the interaction between various of the underworld characters with both Helene and Patrick to be most confusing, especially from about the halfway point onwards, as I began to lose track of who was who and how they fitted into the whole scheme of things. Either I blinked and missed the plot somewhere, or maybe my levels of understanding are flawed? There are quite a few ins and outs during the storyline which totally befuddled me, although I did manage to hold onto the basic gist. Bearing all that in mind, I did feel a little cheated because I could simultaneously tell that this is a very well-crafted film with some excellent acting, and (from the parts I could understand) an interesting story.
As Gone Baby Gone moves towards the end, there are a couple of surprises and one conversation between two of the characters which really impressed me. A big moral dilemma unfolds where I found myself questioning as to what I would do if in the same situation as Patrick was faced with, and I came up with my own definite answer. Of course I can't elaborate, as it would give far too much away.
I did feel that some parts of Gone Baby Gone could have been condensed in order to iron out at least a little of the confusion and make for a more flowing, less baffling storyline, mainly from the aspect of how some of the characters were connected to one another. The film only lasts 115 minutes, but I had the sensation that it was dragging on for much longer.
There is no doubt about it that Gone Baby Gone is a powerful, well-acted and well directed/produced film which emanates a tense and gritty atmosphere, but due to my lack of understanding of what was going on at various points, I occasionally felt detached, and the 'lights out' syndrome only served to fudge what little understanding I did have of the finer parts of the overall plot.
I do consider it possible that I may have another attempt at watching this film at some time in the future, as I may then be able to unravel some of what for me were the fuzzy bits. Should I manage to do that, then I certainly would, if I remember, change this review accordingly with the intention of upping the stars I now award.
Even though I didn't understand what I feel are some very important parts of Gone Baby Gone, I still recommend it as a gritty, grim, well-paced film. There is quite a lot of heavy-duty swearing in the dialogue which some people might find offensive, although such wasn't a problem for me. I am surprised that, bearing those profanities in mind, the film has been given a 15 certificate.
I summarise, albeit a little hesitatingly, with one word : Recommended (I think) - sorry that was three words!
At the time of writing, Gone Baby Gone can be purchased from Amazon as follows:-
New: from £3.74 to £24.19
Used: from 31p to £18.56
Collectible: One copy currently available @ £3.55
A delivery charge of £1.26 should be added to the above figures.
Thanks for reading!
~~ Also published on Ciao under my CelticSoulSister user name ~~
Gone Baby Gone is directed by Ben Affleck and brother Casey Affleck stars with partner played by Angie Gennaro.
Being that it was the first film he has directed he did a great job.
This film centers around a missing child case. After being confronted for help, Cassey Affeck and Angie Gennaro are hired as private detectives
alongside FBI/police to help find her. This film deals with important issues and leaves you pondering over what could have been. The mother of
the missing child has a drug problem and did not give her child much thought until she was gone.
I thought it added to film when it focused on the town and the people in it briefly. You see everyday people on the street and it gives you a feel
for what the town is like. Other parts of the film were filmed mainly in houses, places people drink and in cars. But due to the fact that the whole story
is all to do with finding a young girl you see why it had to be. The script was ok and in parts made you watch more intently.
Based on the begginning, i would have never thought it would have ended that way. I didn't see it coming but others might have. I didn't like the way
it ended but i suppose it was what would have been more likely to happen in real life. As you watch you feel some of the characters are not who
they say they are and are covering up thing, but you're not sure quite what. When watching i got the feeling one of them was of bad character, which
made me surprised when he was seemingly just focused on trying to find his sister's daughter, but towards the end it all came out.
This film focuses on issues such as drugs and the problems it causes over money and what people resort to to get them. I thought the film explored this
issue well. Which leads to the problem that the mother has due to her being so addicted she doesn't always take care of her child the way a mother is
supposed to. As the viewer you see Casey Affleck and the mother bond which is why towards the end he makes the decision that he does. He feels that
you have to provide help rather than remove a child from a situation.
Casey Affleck played this role far better than his partner, Angie Gennaro. I found her acting quite boring even though i agreed with some of the parts she
had said. Another cast member which stood out was Morgan Freeman, despite him only having brief scenes in this.
Overall this was a ok movie, it left you wanting to watch more but it didn't stand out and the the ending leaves a lot to be said.
"Where I come from, you die with your secrets"
Star - Casey Affleck
Run-Time - 114 minutes
Country - USA
Genre - Crime Thriller
The Madeline McCann drama was the domestic news story of the decade for me, what turned out to be more than just the mysterious disappearance of a 4-year-old kid, a fascinating and intriguing dissection of our social class structure. If the McCann's were working-class they would have been judged child killers from day one, 90% of Cot Deaths, child abductions and infant murders happening in that social class right now, and if they don't then surely the middle-class McCann's must be involved with Maddy's disappearance as the event is so unlikely in their social class, that judgment of guilt by where you come from rather than the evidence, the subject of this rather topical movie that came out around the time of Maddys abduction saga. In fact the film was delayed six months back in 2007 because of that case in Portugal. Intriguingly the abducted child in the movie is also called Madeline.
Casey Affleck ... Patrick Kenzie
Michelle Monaghan ... Angie Gennaro
Morgan Freeman ... Jack Doyle
Ed Harris ... Remy Bressant
John Ashton ... Nick Poole
Amy Ryan ... Helene McCready
Amy Madigan ... Bea McCready
Titus Welliver ... Lionel McCready
Michael Kenneth Williams ... Devin
Edi Gathegi ... Cheese
Mark Margolis ... Leon Trett
Madeline O'Brien ... Amanda McCready
Slaine ... Bubba
Boston boy Patrick Kenzie (Casey Affleck) and his girlfriend Angie Gennaro (Michelle Monaghan) are starting up a detective agency uptown and when a young girl goes missing and makes the news they are approached by the family from the wrong side of town to help find her, the theory being as they grew up on those same streets they maybe able to connect better with the locals than the cops to uncover the mystery. Mother Helene McCready (Amy Ryan) is hardly the model parent though and her secret drug habit and list of boyfriends suggest it's likely to be a simple case of neglect or infanticide. Like in the U.K, the underclass is so big in America that the authorities just don't have the money to take the kids away from mothers who should be nowhere near them and so when one is murdered or abducted those authorities always blamed. That blame culture is easier for the community as they are next in line in the dock.
Deciding to take on the case that's not really their forte they soon run into friction with the local cops, world weary and lead investigating detective Remy Bressant (Ed Harris) not best pleased to have some rookie private dicks on his territory and interfering in such a sensitive media case. But the couple are persistent and soon start uncovering new leads, the eventual cooperation of the cops resulting in a suspect, local drug kingpin 'Bubba' (a rapper called 'Slaine'), who they think kidnapped the girl from the mother for a ransom after a drug deal went wrong with one of her boyfriends. But it's more complicated than that and when Police Chief Jack Doyle (Morgan Freeman) takes an interest in their investigative skills it becomes clear that all is not what it seems and Patrick and his girl have got themselves involved in something much bigger than a feckless mum who hasn't got time for her kid.
Whereas the real saga of the McCann's was intriguing and engrossing this wasn't, a fairly silly Hollywood affair if the truth be told. Director Ben Affleck claims he wanted this to be his first film behind the camera because the Dennis Lehane book it's based on is his favourite read ever whereas I think his Boston connections where the only way the film would be made. Affleck being a Boston boy was drawn to the film noir themes from his native city and so felt he could add more to the project.
His first mistake was casting his brother Casey, a good actor but oh so wrong for this movie, presumably that nepotism why he was cast, the pretty boy just not convincing as the prodigal son that did good from the ghetto being able to still relate and act tough on the tough streets he was bought up in. I'm pretty sure he has had his eye brows plucked in the film too. The stunning Michelle Monaghan alongside is as equally too physically perfect and manicured for the role and only Craggy actor Ed Harris as the gnarly cop tip it back in the right direction, before vanity signing Morgan Freeman (doing his sire Morgan Freeman thing) throws it back the other way, only cast to help get the film made and hopefully sell it for Affleck to his backers because Morgan adds more gravitas to dramas and thrillers.
I'm sure the book is better and more sophisticated but the film version is way too glossy and has plot holes you could drive a truck through and unrealistic set pieces you need to drive that same truck over. Whether they changed the babies name to Madeline after the delay is neither there nor there because you don't feel any empathy for the mum or the missing kid and so the film, somewhat fatally, never feeds off that huge real life news story. The nature-nurture argument is brutally explored in a ludicrous twist and when that twist is first hinted at mid film you twig it straight away and then wait for it to be fleshed out and the convoluted plot to unravel. What I needed was more about why mothers neglect kids and les about how many cigarettes and whiskies craggy cops can take between gumshoe clichés.
Guys, I'm just struggling to find the plusses here and baffled why it got a 7.9 rating on Imdb.com although I would say in its defence that the dialogue is pretty good and very film noir from the good old days of this 50s genre. But for me I would stick to The Wire, Denis Lehanes best work and not worry about catching this one on TV when it pops up on cable or terrestrial, for me the most recommended film that has disappointed me this year. One thing is for sure, Ben Affleck is a better director than actor though!
= = = = Ratings = = = =
Imdb.com - 7.9/10.0 (75,089 votes)
Rottentomatos.com - % critics approval rating
Metacritc.com - 72% critics approval rating
Radio Times Film Year Book - 3/4
Leonardo Maltin's Film Year book - 4/5
= = = = Critics = = = =
Empire Magazine - "A superior, haunting thriller of abduction, deception and ethical dilemma with a sobering ending - a moral quandary that demands strong debate outside the cinema"
CNN - "Brooding, somber film is ragged around the edges and not without problematic aspects"
The Guardian -The first serious foray into directing by Ben Affleck, who reinforces his creative talents by good storytelling and dense mood establishment. Brother Casey Affleck threatens to overshadow his sibling in the acting"
The Times - "After seeing Affleck's directorial debut Gone Baby Gone, I can honestly say that he has finally found his true calling in Hollywood"
"Gone Baby Gone" is a 2007 Crime Drama based on the novel of the same name by Dennis Lehane, it stars Casey Affleck, Michelle Monaghan, Morgan Freeman and Ed Harris and is directed by Ben Affleck.
Patrick Kenzie ( Casey Affleck ) and his girlfriend Angie ( Michelle Monaghan ) are private investigators well known in their neighbourhood of Dorchester, Boston. They witness a televised plea from Helene Mcready ( Amy Ryan ) for the return of her missing daughter Amanda, they're eventually hired by the childs aunt and uncle who doubt her mother is responsible enough to obtain help herself and have little faith in the Boston police department.
As Patrick and Angie dig deeper they find Helene involved in drugs which may be related to the abduction of Amanda, after spending some time doing detective work of their own and raising the ire of Police Captain Jack Doyle ( Morgan Freeman ) they seemingly eventually find Amanda and arrange an exchange at an old quarry, however things take a turn for the worse and Amanda is apparently dropped in the river and killed.
After a period of several months Patrick finds himself discovering evidence that all is not as it seems and the original suspects may not be responsible after all, as he digs deeper he uncovers some shocking truths that shake him to the core, truths that involve many more people than he imagined.
I had high hopes for this movie as the other previous film adaptation of a Dennis Lehane novel ( Mystic River ) was an incredible movie and truly faithful reproduction, I am relieved to say that the same can be said of Gone Baby Gone.
The movie has the same haunting tone as Mystic River and while directed by someone else completely still manages to have a similar feel, Casey Affleck does an incredible job in the lead and you truly believe him to be a character who is immersed in his neighbourhood and is a reluctant hero, his performance is 100% and this role manages to enable him to step out of the shadows of his older brother, which leads me to Ben Affleck, once a stooge for Kevin Smith movies, and then a Hollywood leading man who seemed to have suffered a downturn of fortune in his roles, Affleck bounces back and stretches his creative legs in the directors chair, with excellent results and its truly hard to believe this is his first attempt at directing.
The rest of the cast also does an excellent job in their roles, boosted by a very well written script ( also co-written by Ben Affleck ) and unsurprisingly really with some true Hollywood big hitters such as Morgan Freeman and Ed Harris it was hard to go wrong.
If you're a fan of the Book i'm sure you'll gain great enjoyment from this movie, however if you're just looking for a well written, well directed and well acted Crime story this is the perfect way to occupy 114 minutes of your time.
Gone Baby Gone was released in 2007, and I remember wanting to see it at the cinema; because I didn't get the chance, I looked forward to catching it on DVD and it was worth the watch. Directed by Ben Affleck, this film was actually made by Walt Disney strangely enough.
Based on the novel by Dennis Lehance, Gone Baby Gone is about the disappearance of a girl in South Boston. In searching for her, we're taken through the backstreets and dark truth of the working-class Dorchester area, casting a dark shadow over the 109-minute long film. Patrick Kenzie, a private eye asked to investigate the case is obviously in turmoil and fights until the end to solve the case and reunite the missing girl with her mother, though all it not as it seems. For one, her mother, Helene McCready, doesn't seem quite as disturbed or distraught about her little girl as you'd expect.
Kenzie, played by Casey Affleck, is hired by Helene's Aunt (and uncle), presumably with the assumption that the private eye may be able to help find the girl in addition to the cops. Kenzie works alongside his girlfriend, Angie, and together they scout the neighbourhood in what seems like a vain attempt to get a handle on what happened. The cop in charge of working the scene, Captain Doyle (played by Martin Freeman), and Detective Bressant (Ed Harris) try to work alongside Kenzie and Angie, revealing the tension crackling under the surface as each day passes without any sign of the girl. Whilst the private eye and authorities don't necessarily see eye to eye on the case, Affleck offers a 3rd dimension to this crime thriller, bringing out the emotional aspects of such a tragedy well.
Will the girl be found? What happened to her? Was she taken, does someone want to hurt her, is this part of a bigger story? I obviously wont tell you that! But I will say there are some twists and turns that aren't obvious from the outset, so the film was interesting and edgy to watch, making me question the seemingly taken for granted truths we're initially presented with.
The film stars Casey Affleck as Patrick Kenzie, Michelle Monoghan as Angie, Morgan Freeman as Jack Doyle, Amy Ryan as Helene McCready and others (such as John Ashton and Ed Harris). The cast is strong and it's good to see some familiar faces, each of which adds something valuable to the mix.
In addition, the general feel to the film was one of high quality, good direction and seemless scenes, making it easy and absorbing to watch. Seeing the emotional aspects to an abduction, but also the grim truth about such a neighbourhood, made it quite an emotive film, but interesting and convincing at the same time. This was nominated for an Oscar and has 19 other wins and 8 other nominations under its belt, so it must have done something right.
Would I recommend? Yes, for several reasons; the cast, the twists and turns, the convincing characters and well-directed good quality feel of the film, for a few. Whilst it didn't always have that lively spark to it, I think this was intended because this was designed to be a dark, mysterious film revealing some dark truths about a darker side of the world we're lucky not to be involved in.
Rated certificate 15. DVD RRP £17.99 but selling on Amazon for only £2.99
Gone Baby Gone is the directorial debut of Ben Affleck. The film, when being made was hyped up quite a lot for this fact and I was most excited about seeing it. All I knew about the storyline was that it was about the kidnap of a little girl. Around the anticipated time of release Madeline McCan went missing, and in all sensitivity this film put off it's release. I all but forgot about it until I saw it in the DVD rental shop the other day. It seemed to have very little publicity, but dont let that out you off, this is a good film.
The film stars Ben Affleck's brother, Casey Affleck, and his partner, in more ways than one. They live together, are romantically involved and work together. They live in a fairly run down area in America and work as private investigators. They base all their business on being able to talk to criminals and get through to them in a way that the police cannot.
They are approached by the Uncle of a missing girl and asked to help crack the mysetery of her dissapearance. The mother seems poor, into drink and drugs, and what some people would call an unfit mother. As they start looking into the story and investigating further they unravel all sorts of goings on before they get down to the truth.
I loved the storyline for this movie, it was not at all what I had expected. The movie is very dark, literally. I also found it hard to follow the dialect of the main male investigator, as he seemed to mumble! I expected the film to be really sad. I am not saying the film isn't sad at all, but it isn't anything like I expected.
Watch and enjoy! I hope Ben Affleck goes on to make more films.
Please note that this is a review of the film only. I have not watched the bonus features and additional extras included on the DVD therefore I am unable to comment on them in this review.
Written by Ben Affleck and Aaron Stockard and directed by Ben Affleck "Gone Baby Gone" is an intense thriller that is loosely based on a novel by Dennis Lehane and released back in June 2008.
Amanda McCready, a 3 year old girl, has gone missing. The local police are on the case and police detectives Remy Bressant ("Ed Harris") and Nick Poole ("John Ashton") of the specialist unit have been assigned to find the little girl under the watchful eye of Detective Jack Doyle ("Morgan Freeman"). However, Bea McCready ("Amy Madigan") and Lionel McCready ("Titus Welliver"), Amanda's aunt and uncle respectively are not satisfied that enough is being done so they take it upon themselves to engage the assistance of Patrick Kenzie ("Casey Affleck") and his partner Angie Gennaro ("Michelle Monaghan") who are two private detectives who live in the area and know the low life scum that resides in it and where they hang out.
With Kenzie and Gennaro's intimate knowledge of the area and the people who reside in it, and Bressant and Poole's vast experience and access to police resources the foursome pull together and have to work as a team in order to find the missing the girl.
Along the way the team have run-ins with Helen McCready ("Amy Ryan"), Amanda's mother and her acquaintances of the criminal underworld as well as local drug dealers and crime lords including Cheese ("Eddie Gathegi", Leon Trett("Mark Margolis"), Bubba ("Slaine") and Chris Mullen ("Jimmy LeBlanc) amongst many more. Yet in the world of scum and low-lives, bent coppers and individuals perceived to be "the pillar of the community" (with many secrets and skeletons in the closet) the quest to find Amanda carries on.
Will Amanda be found alive? Will this situation make Helen clean up her act? What is the deal with Detective Jack Boyle? How have the McCreadys and Bressant become previously acquainted? What happens to Kenzie and Gennaro? What changes occur in the hood?
****My thoughts and opinion****
I understand that this is Ben Affleck's first attempt and I have to say that on the whole he has done a good job. Whilst this may be a typical run of the mill kidnapping type film it does rattle along at a nice pace which does keep you interested, well it kept me watching anyway.
Personally, I found this to be a roller coaster of a movie that had me gripped from start to finish. There were loads of twists and turns and just when I thought the story had changed it reverted back. I must admit there were a few occasions where I just looked blankly at the screen and thought "now I am confused" but within a few minutes everything was back on track and I was following the story once more. Personally, I think making films meander about all over the place is risky as if the audience gets stuck in that "what's going on?" mode for too long they are likely to switch off and lose interest. I know this has happened to me during a few films however, this was not the case with this film.
I wouldn't say the story line was fantastic, in fact it is pretty mediocre, however, I was captivated throughout, which is pretty commendable given my relatively short attention span.
I have to admit that other than the legendary Morgan Freeman I couldn't recall seeing, or hearing anything about, the other actors in this film. I instantly recognised the Affleck name and after seeing Casey on screen for the first time it was obvious he is the sibling of Ben Affleck, and since Ben directed the film it doesn't take a genius to work out how got one of the lead roles.
The acting was more than adequate for this type of film however it was far from amazing, even with Morgan Freeman who is an amazing actor in his own right. Unfortunately, the story didn't focus on the senior officer and consequently Morgan had a relatively small part in this film which was a bit disappointing really. The lead role was pretty much equally apportioned amongst the main characters, all of which did a good job, although only one of them gave an outstanding performance so take a step forward Amy Ryan.
As individuals (other than Amy Ryan who did an amazing job) the actors did a good job, however I did think there was a lack of chemistry between the cast, and this applies to all members. Kenzie and Gennaro are meant to be lovers as well as work colleagues but I failed to see any spark between them. In addition, Bressant and Poole are meant to be long term police partners and, based on what is portrayed from blockbuster films, I thought there was meant to be a huge bond in such a relationship (and one that is often stronger than that of marriage) although I saw little evidence of such a thing in this film.
Overall, I thought the cinematography was very good. The birds' eye view shots, 'dark' environments and scenery, along with appropriate background music, added to the atmosphere and definitely gave this film that little bit extra. You won't be blown away by breath taking scenery watching this film but the locations used are more than adequate.
At the start of the film there is the over use of foul language, which I think is totally unnecessary. I appreciate that foul language is very emotive, and given the underlying storyline involving a kidnapped child which is an emotive issue, such language will enhance the film but there is just too much in the opening scenes. As the story progresses the tone of the language remains the same but the frequency significantly decreases. If you are the sort of person that is offended by foul language then this definitely isn't a film for you.
There are some violent scenes in this film although they are few and far between. There is not too much blood so there are no issues for those amongst you who are squeamish. This film contains no sex scenes at all, so the high certificate rating is down to one thing only - the over-use (in my opinion) of foul language.
Overall I thought this film was very good and I would definitely recommend it. The story may not be anything unique, the acting may not be fantastic and there may be little chemistry between the cast members but it had me gripped for the whole duration and provided a bit of entertainment (which is all that really matters) so it did what it says on the tin.
Some films are only suitable for specific occasions, such as watching curled up on the sofa with your other half or on a boozy night in with mates or on a rainy Sunday afternoon etc., but this is not one of them. This is a film that can be enjoyed at anytime and with anyone (providing they are old enough and don't mind the foul language, of course).
I don't think this film will ever be regarded as a classic, nor do I think it is one that can be watched over and over again so it is not one that I would go out and buy for my DVD collection, but it is worth renting.
Run time - 114 minutes
Certificate - 15
19 Awards, 8 other nominations and Amy Ryan was nominated for an Oscar in the "Best supporting actress" category.
(This review was originally posted on Ciao under the name of yackers1)
This 2007 movie was directed by Ben Affleck - his first major feature as a director - and stars his brother Casey Affleck as the lead with Morgan Freeman, Ed Harris, Michelle Monaghan and Amy Ryan in supporting roles. The story is based on a novel by Dennis Lehane (who also wrote 'Mystic River') and involves the dissapearance of a young girl and the attempts made to find her by two novice private detectives and the police force.
Casey Affleck plays Patrick Kenzie, a young and inexperienced detective who works out of the rough Boston neighbourhoods with his partner girlfriend Angie Gennaro (Michelle Monaghan) looking for missing persons. Their usual cases involve runaways and society drop-outs so they feel a little out of their depth when they are approached by the family of a missing little girl.
The story is set in the darkest, hardest parts of Boston city and Ben Affleck has gone to extraordinary lengths to make this landscape feel gritty and realistic. In the early part of the film the cameras sweep through the grimy streets showing the real faces of Boston's inhabitants - there is none of the glitzy, glamorous Hollywood here. This crowd include stay at home moms at home watching 'Jerry Springer', drug addicts, the unemployed and poor. It is in this desperate community that our missing girl, Amanda, has been raised.
Casey Affleck is totally believable in the part as a young man who once indulged in the lifestyle of the mad and the bad with the deadbeats in town but who is now upstanding and clean. The actor's babyface makes the character seem very likeable and at times innocent and even naive. Seeing Kenzie struggle with the case of the missing child is like watching someone who thinks he has seen the cruelest crimes and most nefarious human behaviour imaginable but suddenly discovers that there even worse things in the world. Whislt Affleck's suitablility for the part is not questionable I do find that his voice is grizzly and along with the nuances of the Boston accent is quite indistinguishable, so much so that I had to watch the entire DVD with the subtitles on. I feel his diction is a big problem in this film.
The supporting roles are all well acted. Amy Ryan stands out as a grief stricken family member. Ed Harris, Morgan Freeman and Titus Welliver also nail their parts and turn in memorable, skilled performances. Affleck's female couterpart really stands out on screen for her poise and beauty. Michelle Monaghan's character is tough yet emotional and from the viewpoint of a woman I have to say her smart and focused character was much needed to diffuse the lightning spikes of testosterone. There are several deleted scenes on the DVD featuring her character that I feel should have been included in the movie though. These scenes explore to more extent how the situation with the missing child is seen and felt from a female's perspective.
Whilst the first half of the movie has a gritty, sad and realistic feel to it the latter half begins to feel more like an adaptation of a clever crime fiction novel as the twists slowly emerge. As the movie reaches its climax it is obvious that tears will be shed and hearts broken. A tense and terrible moral choice lies at the end of Kenzie's journey. Even after all the loose ends have been tied at the conclusion of the main plot there are thought-provoking end scenes which whilst provoking feelings of sorrow, dread and anger in me also had the effect of making me consider the broader ideas behind aspects of the flm: human nature and behaviour, class divides and the welfare of children.
This movie is very deep, intelligent and thoughtful yet these attributes are combined with exciting and nerve-jangling action and plot. The ending of the movie is one of the most dramatic, compelling finales I have ever seen and has haunted me ever since. I'd call this movie a triumph for Ben Affleck and would recommend this to anyone who likes films that tackle serious issues.
The DVD has several bonus features including:
On Location at Boston
Gone Baby Gone (2007)
Writer: Ben Affleck & Aaron Stockard
Director: Ben Affleck
Casey Affleck - Patrick Kenzie
Michelle Monaghan - Angie Gennaro
Morgan Freeman - Jack Doyle
Ed Harris - Remy Bressant
John Ashton - Nick Poole
Amy Ryan - Helene McCready
Amy Madigan - Bea McCready
Titus Welliver - Lionel Macready
Matalin O'Brien - Amanda Macready
A young girl, Amanda McCready, is kidnapped from a crummy neighborhood in Boston. Her single mother, Helene, lived with her brother, Lionel and her sister-in-law, Bea.
Bea and Lionel hire Patrick, a private detective, to aid in the search for their niece.
Patrick, along with his associate, but also happens to be his girlfriend, Angie, begin working with two detectives, Remy and Nick.
They have a couple of suspects, a child molester and two of his associates.
However, after badgering Helene some more they learn that she and her boyfriend, Ray, stole a large sum of money from a drug dealer and they deduced that he took the girl to exchange for his money back.
The cops go to Ray's house to get the money, but they find Ray dead. but Helene tells them where it's buried and they dig it up.
The drug dealer, Cheese, Agrees to exchange the girl for the money and sets up a meeting at the quarry. However, it's a set up and Cheese is shot and killed by the detectives and the girl falls off the cliff into the lake below.
Later, Patrick and a friend of his are in the house of the child molester and his two associates when Patrick notices that the child molester has a pendant around his wrist belonging to another young boy that had recently gone missing. With the two detectives, Patrick raids the house. One of the detectives is shot and dies later on at the hospital.
In the house, Patrick breaks into the child molesters room to find him sitting on the floor. Patrick examines the room and finds the boy's body in the bathroom. After seeing what was done to the boy, Patrick executes the child molester by shooting him in the back of the head.
Later on, as he's sitting at home, Patrick begins thinking about the case and playing it over in his mind. Some things just aren't adding out, and as he thinks about it he begins putting the pieces together.
He meets Lionel at a bar and pressures him to talk, and he eventually tells him the whole story. He ad overheard Helene and Ray talking about the money they stole from the drug dealer, so he called Remy and they devised a plan, they would kidnap the girl and leave her with Jack, the police captain, long enough to get Helene to give them the money. However, after finding out more about Helene they decide the child is better off staying with Jack.
Remy, wearing a mask and pretending to be a robber, shows up at the bar to kill Lionel before he can talk, but the bartender shoots him and he runs out. He later dies on a rooftop.
Patrick travels to Jack's house out in the woods where he finds Jack, his wife and the little girl. After some discussion with Jack, and some moral tug-of-war Patrick calls the state police. Jack is arrested and Amanda is returned to her mother.
Many good men died, a good man was arrested and Patrick's relationship with Angie was ruined, but the little girl was returned home safely.
This movie is based on the novel of the same name Dennis Lehane.
This movie marks the directorial debut of Ben Affleck. And what a debut it was. This movie was beautifully directed. Ben Affleck definitely has a bright future ahead of him as a director.
This movie was shot on location in Boston which gives it a real feel and makes it more believable. The movie is simple and gritty, very similar to Mystic River, which was also written by Dennis Lehane.
The cast couldn't have been better. Each cast member gave an excellent performance. Casey Affleck really came into his own in this role. He was tough but vulnerable which is just what the character needed to be. Morgan Freeman was his usual wonderful self, Eddie Harris was brilliant and Amy Ryan was superb as Helene.
This movie was critically acclaimed when it was released, and with good reason, it's an excellent movie based on an excellent story tghat was beautifully directed, excellently cast and superbly performed.
I definitely recommend this movie to all.
When deciding to watch this film on Saturday, the fact that it was Ben Affleck's directorial debut convinced me to give it a go. It's not that I am a great Affleck fan, in most cases I think he's mediocre but I like to have a nose at what a new director is capable of.
A brief outline of the film - The main character is Patrick Kenzie played by none other than Ben's little brother Casey! Along with his girlfriend Angie (Michelle Monaghan) they investigate missing persons in their area by talking and putting pressure on the neighbourhood and by being one of the locals they are able to infiltrate and get information where the police fail. A Young girl goes missing from her mum's and her auntie asks the two of them to assist the police who don't seem to be getting anywhere with the case i.e. no one saw or heard anything!
There is a twist in this film so I don't want to give too much away; I also find it hard to place this film in a particular genre. Crime drama is probably the best bet, but the best way I can describe the feel of it is that when something happened you just thought 'is that it?' I think it would have been better served with more action, I think Affleck has gone for the deep and meaningful but it somehow doesn't connect with the audience. This film was nominated for an Oscar but I am struggling to find out why?
For example Angie is moved by the missing girl and goes through all sorts of emotions in the film and it changes her life. I don't know if it was a poor performance or bad script or bad direction but I didn't find her pain realistic and as an audience member wasn't really bothered what happened .I also found her and ---- relationship very flat and unbelievable.
Morgan Freeman isn't in the film much, but what you do see of him is his usual polished performance Ed Harris also puts in a good performance as the cop Remy who is in charge of the case.
Don't watch this film if you want a happy ending or want big thrills or action . I am not sorry I watched it but won't be bothering again.
Yesterday evening I rented Gone Baby Gone, and settled down for what I had heard from many critics and reviewers would be an excellent film.
In my opinion, it is not an excellent film. However, it is an important, interesting, thought provoking and very well acted film. It's just not without its flaws.
The film, directed by first timer Ben Affleck and starring his brother Casey, is an American crime drama which is based on true events and is adapted from the novel by Dennis Lehane.
Casey plays the part of a young private detective called Patrick. He is hired by the aunt and uncle of a woman, Helene (Amy Ryan), whose four year old daughter Amanda has been abducted. With no ransom note, the police are at a loss and have no leads, so Casey attempts to use his contacts in the somewhat unsavoury neighbourhood to find some information as to where the girl might be. He is helped by his girlfriend and business partner Angie (Michelle Monaghan) and some reasonably co-operative policemen, including Remy Bressant (Ed Harris) and Jack Doyle (Morgan Freeman). Soon Casey uncovers a series of events that may have led to the kidnapping, and finds himself facing some difficult choices and questioning his own actions.
This is not the easiest of films to watch. It is filled with an almost constant stream of bad language, and although it could be argued is necessary to maintain realism, I found it a bit over the top and off-putting. In addition, hearing about the unpleasant and neglected life that Amanda led before her abduction, seeing her irresponsible mother, and viewing other victims and perpetrators of disgusting child abuse, is not a fun watching experience. Also, the plot is at times tricky to grasp and seemingly over-complicated, a situation which is not helped by often muffled dialogue.
However, if you overlook these less savoury parts of the film, there is much to be impressed at here. The direction is at times beautiful, and I think Ben Affleck excels more in this regard than he ever did as an actor. There are some breathtaking shots both of people and landscapes.
The film also has a high sense of realism, despite a plot that at times verges on outlandish. It is probably this realism that led to its release being delayed six months in the UK due to the abduction of Madeline, and in Malaysia for a similar case. Indeed, the similarities to the Madeline case are high in number, from the fact that the mother attests she only left her for half an hour or so, to the media circus that surrounds them, to the fact that the little actress playing Amanda even shares Madeline's name.
Perhaps the best part of this movie, though, is the acting. Monaghan is reliable and subtle as Patrick's girlfriend, Harris is both powerful and at times disturbing as a cop, Amy Madigan is utterly believable as Amanda's heartbroken aunt, and Freeman is as solid as ever. It is Ryan and Casey Affleck that steal the show, however. Amy Ryan's dirty, slutty, chain-smoking, drugged up portrayal of Amanda's mother is shocking for its realism and depth, and for the fact that she is not without some degree of sympathy. And Casey is an amazing newcomer whose quiet, strong performance is involving and emotional without being over the top. (Plus, for those who are that way inclined, he's lovely to look at!)
This movie left me with much to think about. The choices that Patrick must make towards the end of the movie invite the question: 'What would you do?'. Are there moral imperatives or rules that must be stuck to regardless of the situation? If we could see the results of obeying or disobeying such rules, would our actions change? Are there some people who, due to their social, intellectual or financial superiority, should be able to make decisions on behalf of others? These are all interesting questions and ones which the film addresses but does not necessarily provide answers to.
So, would I recommend this film? Yes, I think so, but not if you are looking for a standard crime, mystery or thriller. This is a deep film which will be unsatisfying if you're after an exciting but shallow movie. It is also not a film to be watched when you want to be uplifted, as there is an air of depression and doom that hangs over the entire movie. Nevertheless, the excellent acting and very good direction mean that it's worth watching.
Gone Baby Gone won a host of awards, with most of them being for Amy Ryan as a supporting actress, though the awards were mostly from Critics Associations and Film Festivals, and the film did not receive any Academy Awards or Golden Globes.
The DVD can be bought for £3.98 from Amazon.co.uk. Special features include an audio commentary with Ben Affleck and writer Aaron Stockard, deleted scenes and a Behind the Scenes with Ben Affleck featurette.
Stars - Casey Affleck
Plot - Amanda, a four year old girl from Boston goes missing and her aunt hires private investigate Patrick (Affleck) to help find her. Her own mother however seems to be less concerned. Will he find her in time and why did she go missing in the first place?
Whats it like? - Scarily similar to the Madeleine McCann case, this film might cut too close to the bone for some people. Unlike the McCann's though, the family involved here are trailer trashy and the film makes food for thought about how different groups in society are treated. Overall this is a good film, and I think it tackles a very sensitive issue quite delicately. It is however, based on a bit of a poor pretence, because quite frankly I did wonder throughout what exactly made Affleck's character an expert in missing people (being so obviously young and with no apparent background story)? It seemed to me the filmmakers just didn't want the film to be another cop film. One thing I would say is that this film perhaps isn't for those who are of a sensitive disposition. One scene in particular will be etched on my mind forever.
Gone Baby Gone is Ben Afflecks film direction debut, starring his younger brother Casey Affleck in the role of a detective who is bought into investigate the disappearance of a young girl. The youngster is the daughter of a junkie who claims she was around her friends place watching TV on the night of her disappearance. The film follows the detectives as they interview numerous links to the case in order to get down to the answer of why and by whom the girl was taken.
The film was delayed for a year or so as it was due for release around the time that Madeline McCann went missing, since the story follows very similar plots the company decided to try and delay it in the interests of the family and investigation. This only came to help the film, it became better known after the McCann case and I guess many people went to see it based on the similarity.
The casting was brilliant and for a debut Ben Affleck did a brilliant job, he must have been able to get such a strong cast from his contacts and of course his brother being the main actor must have been a bit of a help. Casey Affleck is brilliant and although some may find his voice annoying they count doubt his acting ability, he may have got this role thanks to his brother, but he made it his own through not help of his brother. Ed Harris is superb but you don't really expect much else and I wonder why Freeman played such a small role, perhaps it was only Afflecks contacts which got him in this film in the first place.
What I love about this film, other than the direction, acting and plot is the moral dilemma right at the end of the film, it makes the audience wonder what we would do in his situation and we have to try and understand what a horrible decision that Caseys character has to make, I certainly can't imagine having to make it, although I have to say I'd probably make a similar decision.
For the major debuts of both Ben and Casey Affleck this film is a huge success and one not purely based on the similarity with Madelines case, I have seen this film numerous times now and it doesn't fail to impress me each and everytime.
Gone Baby Gone is the story of Patrick Kenzie, a young private investigator from a poor, rough part of town who is hired by a local woman to find her abducted neice. The child's mother is a neglectful cokehead & the neighbours aren't talking to the authorities, but Kenzie's local connections soon get him results that the police couldn't & things rapidly progress.
Soon after, his experiences prove useful in another abducted child case, but this one throws up irregularities in the original investigation & suddenly there's plot twists & red herrings everywhere that lead to an edge-of-the-seat ending.
Casey Affleck, directed by his older brother Ben, plays Kenzie. He doesn't have his brother's heart-throb Hollywood good looks, but instead has the calm self-assuredness & screen presence of a much older actor. He's riveting to watch, & has a fine supporting cast (Michelle Monaghan, Morgan Freeman, Ed Harris) who are all superb in this.
Ben Affleck's direction is a surprisingly impressive too. The grim location & its residents are all portrayed unflinchingly but in a measured, sombre tone, & the low-key atmosphere reminded me so much of the Clint Eastwood film Mystic River that I wasn't at all surprised to find out that it's written by the same author, Dennis Lehane.
There's enough action & a fabulous storyline in this to save it from being too arthouse, but it's no racy thriller either. It's a troubling film to watch in places due to the combination of bad things being done to young children & the terrible dilemmas faced by people with the means to change their lives. It has a haunting, dark mood that's hard to shake off & leaves you with lots to think about.
I wouldn't call it a fun or entertaining film, but it's deep, gripping, hugely watchable & beautifully made.
I had read a lot of good reviews in the paper about this film so I was eager to watch. It was interesting to find out that it was supposed to be released about a year earlier but it coincided with the disappearance of Maddy McCann. Which is unfortunate because I don't think this film recieved the recognition it deserved. I had heard quite little about it untill it came out on DVD. When I watched it I thought it was fantastic. It was a brilliant, original crime thriller with little input from the police just two rookie detectives. It had everything from kidnapping to drugs and money, violence, everything. There were points in the film where really deep moral decisions had to be made and I thought this really engaged me as viewer because I started thinking, what would I do? It is Ben Affleck's directorial debut and it is a cracker, I hope he produces many more like it.