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Where I come from, you die with your secrets"
Gone Baby Gone (DVD)
Member Name: thedevilinme
Gone Baby Gone (DVD)
Advantages: Pretty girls
Disadvantages: Cliche characters and plots
"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"