|Gone Baby Gone
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Critics are calling Ben Affleck's directorial debut "mesmerizing" (Peter Travers ROLLING STONE). When two young private detectives (Casey Affleck (GOOD WILL HUNTING) and Michelle Monaghan MISSION: IMPOSSIBLE III) are hired to take a closer look into the mysterious disappearance of a little girl they soon unravel a multitude of twists and turns where nothing is what it seems. Ultimately they must risk everything -- their relationship their sanity and even their lives -- in the search to find her. Casey Affleck and Morgan Freeman are electrifying and Amy Ryan (CAPOTE) delivers "a vibrant knockout performance" (Kenneth Turan LOS ANGELES TIMES) in this edge-of-your-seat crime drama. GONE BABY GONE "will have you talking long after it's over" (Christy Lemire THE ASSOCIATED PRESS).System Requirements:Running Time: 114 Mins.Format: DVD MOVIE Genre: DRAMA/PSYCHOLOGICAL DRAMA Rating: R UPC: 786936727487 Manufacturer No: 05373800
For his initial offering as director, Ben Affleck returns to the site of his first Oscar: South Boston. (He and Matt Damon shared the award for Good Will Hunting.) Hot on the heels of his moving turn in Hollywoodland, Affleck's Dennis Lehane adaptation marks one of the more seamless actor-to-filmmaker transitions in recent years. Ostensibly, a procedural about the search for a missing child, class and corruption emerge as his primary concerns. First off, there's low-rent private eye Patrick Kenzie (Casey Affleck, equally adept in The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford). Then there's the girl's drug mule mother, Helene (Amy Ryan, Before the Devil Knows You're Dead). She and Patrick grew up in Dorchester, but he took a different path, setting up an agency with his girlfriend, Angie (Michelle Monaghan). Helene's aunt, Bea (Amy Madigan), hires the duo to augment the investigation, and they team up with Captain Doyle (Morgan Freeman) and Detective Bressant (Madigan's husband, Ed Harris). The authorities don't appreciate the interference, but Patrick knows how to get the local populace talking, and he soon finds there's more to the story than anyone could possibly imagine. Hard-hitting, but never soft-headed, the evocative end result proves Affleck has a flair for this directing thing and that his little brother can carry a major motion picture with aplomb. Gone Baby Gone belongs on the list of great Boston crime dramas, along with The Departed and Mystic River, Clint Eastwood's take on Lehane. --Kathleen C. Fennessy
- One of the Year's best
I'll join the applause for this Affleck, Freeman, Harris vehicle. The drug addled mum of the kidnapped girl also gives a stunning performance.The twists and turns were enthralling enough right through to the vulnerability of the head cop. I've watched it a few times and still have trouble with the diction though; not attuned enough to catch all of Affleck's murmuring, and right off the map with the drawl of the head gangster(but the intentions are manifest). The cinematography and camera work are first rate. The sets and dirty realism, totally commanding. The choices each protaganist makes throughout is the nub of the investigation, and the one Affleck has to make at the end may cost him his closest ally. Yes, together with the Robert Ford outing, Affleck has made a big statement in my head these past 12 months and is one to watch for. The film is an excellent accompaniment to,'Mystic River', written by the same author....more info
- Great movie
Upon hearing of this movie I was slightly intrigued, mostly because of the Oscar nomination attached to Amy Ryan who I had never heard of. After watching it though, I was very pleasantly surprised. The movie was considerably well made, a great start for Ben Affleck's directorial career. Based on a novel by Dennis Lehan and adapted by Ben Affleck, Gone Baby Gone starts out with a deceivingly simple plot and expands and grows with great intensity. Simply put, the story is wonderfully written.
There is an impressive mix of character dynamics in the movie. In other words, certain characters relations to each other greatly facilitate a complex and interesting story. Along with its fine plot, Gone Baby Gone has a phenomenal cast and they help to display these dynamics excellently. On top of Amy Ryan's Oscar nominated role (which is quite deserved I think), Casey Affleck, Ed Harris, and Morgan freeman deliver splendid performances as well. While the performances are what we should expect of actors with the experience of the latter two, Casey Affleck is deservedly building an impressive resume too.
In keeping with a good plot, deeper messages in the story very thought provoking. In some senses, it displays the traditional dilemma of "do the ends justify the means" but does so in a way that makes it too hard to simply take one side or the other.
An outstanding debut for Ben Affleck: the director. Thanks to an extremely well written book and Ben Affleck's directorial talent Gone Baby Gone is a great movie and I definitely recommend it to those looking for a deep, edgy drama.
- Boston abduction
We all know Ben Affleck as actor, screenwriter and celebrity, but now he is starting to establish himself as a film director. "Gone, baby, gone" is based on Dennis Lehane's novel, writer famous for setting up his stories in Boston, Affleck's home town. We are also introduced to Casey Affleck, Ben's younger brother who is making his mark on the big screen. Story is set to the event of the young child's adbuction. Child's mother is a shady character, addict who occasionally serves as a mule to a local drug lord. It seems that their unresolved differences are the main cause for little girl's disappearance. Film is a great showcase for the underclass of the unfortunates one is familair with not only in Boston area but anywhere else in US. We see uneducated , trashy people, women not ready to be emotionally available to their own children until it is too late. People who should not have children have them and the one who should are not so lucky. Ben has a long road ahead until he becomes a remarkable director, but he is learning and one has to give him a credit for that. I can see why the supporting female role was in race for the Academy Award this year. Good assemble of fine actors cannot help the weak story of the screenplay. Better luck next time, Ben....more info
- Intense and Thought-Provoking
I really wasn't that interested in watching GONE BABY GONE when my husband turned it on. Very quickly, however, I was drawn into the intense drama on the screen. This movie is emotional, heartbreaking, gut-wrenching, and extremely thought provoking. It is not easy to watch. But it is very much worth seeing.
I like my movies to entertain me, teach me something, or make me think. GONE BABY GONE definitely falls into that third category. It is not always easy to define right from wrong, good from bad, black from white. And when the life of a child is involved, the moral areas get grayer and grayer. Is it right to commit a crime, if it will improve the life and happiness of a child? This question is posed in many different ways in this film, and the answer is never clear or easy.
Overall, the acting is very good. Headliners Casey Affleck, Morgan Freeman, and Ed Harris give realistic, believable, heartfelt performances. The supporting cast, including Amy Ryan, Amy Madigan, Michelle Monaghan, and John Ashton are all very strong and genuine. In some cases, perhaps the performances were almost too realistic; I had some difficulty in a few places understanding the thick, almost mumbled, South Boston accent.
First time director Ben Affleck does an outstanding job. He navigates you through the multiple twists, turns, and reverse loops of this detective mystery thriller so well that you never quite see what is coming. The end is disturbing, to say the least, and leaves you thinking hard, trying to decide what is "right." My husband and I are still debating this, and we will be for some time to come. Highly recommended.
- 3.5 stars out of 4
The Bottom Line:
An interesting-enough crime story in its own right, Gone Baby Gone is elevated to another level by terrific acting and an ending that asks perhaps better than any movie what "doing the right thing" actually means; with several standout scenes and the courage of its convictions, it is most definitely a film to watch or own....more info
- Bad ending
I had heard a lot about this movie and I was excited to get it. Most of the performances were very good and I thought Casey Affleck was good and believable in this role. Michelle Monaghan made a good team with him and was gorgeous as usual. The other major cast members gave good performances.
The story is intriguing where you have to follow this guy go through the investigation and he gets some bum leads and some good ones.
The thing I didn't like about the movie was the didactic that the state knows better what to do for kids as opposed to their parents.
Why did Ben Affleck need to shove this bleeding heart liberal message down our throats at the end? It ruined the movie for me.
Almost a really good movie.
- Worth a look
I think that the movie while strong with good performances by all especially Ed Harris is best when #1 the plot is dealing with the actual mystery of the abduction itself and not as in the last 25 minutes when everyone has to deal with the implications of why one action is moral and another action is immoral and who is better off with whom and #2 when we actually see the tough neighborhood in which these people live even if intellectually we know that such idealized neighborhoods populated by cliques although extremely likeable ones exist only in the imaginations of Hollywood executives. This is basically the same neighborhood brought to life in The Departed, Mystic River, Sleepers and a host of other films. I like all those films so I don't have a problem with it but those of you watching this for the first time should know what you're getting into.
Overall-While I liked the movie the plot twist when it comes seems completely arbitrary and the action from that point steams from what decision would Casey Affleck's character the most comfortable.
- Emotionally charged.
A compelling story that may cause the viewer to ask 'what would I have done in the end?'. A selfish, rotten mother lies about events surrounding her missing daughter. At first the case appears drug related, since the situation for the child was in dire need of welfare intervention, but when the young girl's aunt brings in a P.I. familiar with the neighborhood and its bad guys, the case gets far more complicated. As the P.I. digs deeper he's soon faced with a complicated question of right and wrong, only the question of what's right is anything but simple. The real sad fact is there are parents out there that are like the mother character so superbly played in this movie, so it's not difficult to sympathize with a few well-meaning characters who thought they were doing the right thing. This one will make you think.
Chrissy K. McVay - Author...more info
- Its heart was in the right place, but...
...overall this one missed the mark.
What I really liked about it was the richness of the neighborhood in which it was filmed. The characters, the locations, the dialog/dialects. All very, very realistic.
What I couldn't get on board with was the story, which started out fine enough, but then devolved into this pseudo-noir with bad plot development and a silly, righteous ending that ticked me off. Case Affleck was a tough swallow for a tough guy. And I feel he was held back in his his acting by his director brother - who, i feel, held on too tight to this one.
Overall, it felt forced and I wouldn't go out of my way to recommend it. ...more info
- Casey Affleck Emerges From Ben's Shadow
Casey Affleck more than holds his own in scenes with Morgan Freeman and the underrated Ed Harris in almost as surprising a way as Tom Cruise did with Dustin Hoffman in "Rain Man." Just a super movie from start to finish with each actor in each scene bringing something to the table. Ed Harris has the meatiest role next to Casey as a is he a bad guy or good guy and that conundrum is revisited with many of the characters in this story. Ben Affleck does a superb job in his directorial debut, I can't recommend this movie highly enough....more info
- Morality plays that didn't cut both ways
First of all, the tried-and-true method of the main character narrating as the story goes along, just didn't work with Casey Affleck's nasally and whiny voice. Maybe it was because Ben Affleck directing his brother Casey, thought it would work. It was more annoying and distracting instead of adding to the movie.
Michelle Monaghan didn't play a very important or effective part. Amy Ryan as Helene McCready, was perfect as the "doper" and irresponsible mother who got her child back. Ed Harris as Detective Remy Bressant, was very convincing as the main cop and co-conspirator of the kidnapping. Morgan Freeman the mastermind and self-proclaimed "saviour" of the child of Helene McCready played a minor part until the very end.
I'm glad this didn't turn out to be a movie that I'd need a calculator to rack up the body count. Although there was considerable amount of victims adding up (related and unrelated) after the initial kidnapping.
And in the end, when Casey's character Patrick Kenzie has Morgan Freeman and the others arrested for kidnapping because "it was the right thing to do," he himself goes "Scot-free" after murdering (read Executing) a child molester and killer that the cops helped coverup since he tried to save the life of a cop shot at the very same crime scene. This self-righteous ending just didn't play into the message he wanted to convey. Sure, no one was going to miss the child molester/killer, but his summary execution was in step with that old saying of "the lesser of two evils." Pretty sour.
Casey Affleck's tough-guy persona just didn't work in this movie. He just doesn't have that exterior gruff look or demeanor to portray a "bigger-than-life hero."
- Very Good Movie, Even Better DVD
If you're trying to decide whether or not to buy the DVD of Gone Baby Gone, let me just say this: It's worth buying. It really is. Not only is the movie itself terrific, but the DVD has a lot of extra features that make it something you and your friends or family members SHOULD like exploring separately.
As for the movie itself, I won't do a full review since there are about a million of them right here for you to read. The only personal comments I'll make about the movie here are that (a) it's very well acted overall, (b) I don't really think Casey Affleck has the screen presence to carry off the Patrick character well, and (c) his character's lines in the script should have been A LOT funnier, given the tone of the book. Beyond that, chances are good that, by now, you know enough to decide whether the movie suits you or not.
That said, I recommend buying the DVD in large part because of the deleted scenes. In fact, after watching them all a few times, I would even say that it would have been a better movie if they had used one of the alternate beginnings that they discarded, along with a couple small deleted scenes. Don't get me wrong, I like a movie that keeps a lot hidden until the end as much as anyone, but by adding in just a little more of the footage they discarded, the movie would have had a much better pace and rhythm without giving away anything at all. As it is, I think the choppy feel of the film shows Director Affleck's inexperience.
In any case, you'll enjoy the story, you'll enjoy the tension, and if you like seeing behind the camera on a good film, you'll enjoy the DVD's extras. Spend the money....more info
- Love the Discomfort
A lot of people here said they hated this movie because they hated the ending. That's how you're SUPPOSED to feel! I love complicated stuff, and this movie is full of complications. Issues of morality and what exactly is the "right thing" pervade the plot and really make you think. Definitely a movie that carries a lot of baggage but doesn't seem to hit you over the head with it. Love that....more info
- gone baby gone
I loved this movie thought it was great kept my full attention through the whole movie hated to stop it to go to get a snack The ending was a little surprising Not so happy with that. wish the ending would have turned out different, but overall I really enjoyed the movie...more info
- Doesn't do the book justice
I absolutely love Dennis Lehane and quite frankly this movie does not do the book justice. Casey Affleck is no Patrick Kenzie. Plus Gone, Baby Gone was like book 3 in a series. I don't understand why he would do a film in a middle of a series. Plus, I was stunned to see Angie just simply his girlfriend when in the books she's a married woman whom he wishes would leave her abusive husband. Lehane books are so layered with emotional angst and is nowhere in the realm of being predictable. This movie was transparent and very predictable. And Bubba? What a joke. I urge everyone to please read the first book in the series: A Drink before the War-and I guarantee you'll be hooked. This...wasn't horrible but it truly didn't do this series justice. Patrick is a complicated guy and there's a reason why he knows a lot of criminals. Same for Bubba-in this, you don't understand the connection between the two men. I'm glad to see I'm not the only one that thought that Casey sounded like he had a mouth full of marbles. Nepotism at it's best. Still, it's an okay movie; Lehane needs to let the likes of Eastwood to continue to make his films....more info
- Amy Ryan shines and there are some fine piece parts...but there also are a lot of "acting" moments and sermonizing
Gone Baby Gone drops more F-bombs than dogs in a public park drop pooch poop. That's only part of the problem with this movie that contains within a lot of wrapping a clever, complicated mystery. Scattered throughout the movie also are what seem to be endless "acting" moments for every featured actor, a style of self-aware directing that spills over onto some of the actors' performances, and enough social sermonizing to keep even Sean Penn happy.
Some of my impatience with this movie is because the mystery depends on so much well-planned sleight of hand that it raised my expectations for a solid, complicated mystery drama. The structure and presentation of the drama is well managed by director Ben Affleck. So is any number of individual scenes (when the acting doesn't start getting impassioned). And Amy Ryan as the cokehead mother simply walks away with the acting honors. She does it by making us believe she's what she's acting as, something a number of the other actors, in my opinion, don't quite pull off. Casey Affleck is just fine as the young private investigator who at first believes what he sees and then begins to figure things out. Ed Harris, on the other hand, and made up to look for some reason like Patrick McGoohan on Columbo, chews the scenery as if he were breaking in a new set of false teeth. Morgan Freeman plays yet another variation on his wise, humanistic, aging gentleman. Freeman needs to find a role where he can kick a reporter to death or humiliate a young pair of lovers. Somewhere along the way he has misplaced his real ability to be vicious. Just watch him as Fast Black in Street Smart.
As the story develops there are more and more twists. At first, and putting aside the feeling of the movie being too sincere for its own good, this led to a lot of tricky fun. By the time we reached the conclusion and all became clear, all also became stretched out with a series of mini-dramas that seemed to have difficulty finding a way to stop.
Even Gone Baby Gone's basic argument -- isn't saving a child from almost certain degradation worth bending the rules, even if really bad scumbags pay a price -- is compromised by the naivety implicit in the question. Do we really want to live in a world where the police get to play God and make those decisions? Or maybe we should let the police play God only when it comes to little kids. Or only when it comes to little kids but no more often than once a month. Is there an answer to this apparently weighty question? The movie implies that there isn't. Come on. Sure there is.
There's quite a bit to enjoy in Gone Baby Gone, just not enough, in my opinion, to make a fully professional, satisfying story. But I'll give it this: The movie isn't mediocre and it isn't dull....more info
- Banal, formulaic third rate "detective" story
Horribly forced and flat acting (not even Ed Harris can save this one), coupled with an outrageous and irrelevant plot, will leave the seasoned filmgoer either unintentionally amused or upset that he will never get 2 hours of his life back. The film takes irrelevance to a new level: veteran cop close to pension risks everything to kidnap an unfamiliar girl, Casey's girlfriend (I don't even care to remember his character's name), decides to leave him because he does the right thing and returns the kidnapped daughter to her rightful mother, a supposedly religious detective has no reservations about blowing a suspects brains out, etc.
The Affleck's shamelessly promote Boston at every turn and in every film--there is a reason wise directors present most films in the king's english, it is because unless the plot demands it, spare the audience the hassle of listening to an unintelligable dialect; it would have been nice to have subtitles for those of us who are not New Englanders.
Finally, I hope that Ben Affleck would cut short his directorial ambitions and just return to acting--Umm, actually just try to come up with another Good Will Hunting for redemption. Casey, you need to work on character depth and emotional range as I felt that I was viewing Jesse James at times. Pacino played it safe like this in Merchant of Venice but those familiar with plays recognized that Shylock who is a demanding character, was often portrayed in a melancholy or layed back fashion which made it a lot easier for the actor, but not necessarily truer to the role.
This film is the work of an amateur through and through. Save your 2 hours....more info
- By the book
This is a pretty good movie based on a really good book. Definitely not necessary to read the book first. A little girl goes missing from her bedroom in the middle of the night while her good for nothing Mother was having a good time. The two main characters are private detectives hired by the aunt of the missing girl to supplement the massive police investigation. This film shows how awful some places in this world really are, and it reminds you that children are born into it every day. Casey Affleck did a good job as Patrick Kenzie. He basically carries the whole movie. There is a great twist of an ending that will really leave you with something to discuss after the movie is over. Definitely recommended....more info
- Solid taught flick
GBG provided authentic Boston grit, quality acting, and a storyline that keeps you guessing while it leads to a provocative and intense finale. Rated a 8.5/10 and recommended as one of '07 Top 10. ...more info
- Casey Affleck is awful
Good movie but Casey Affleck was horrible.No expression & mumbles to the point of being incoherent.Ed Harris was excellent as always & Morgan excellent too. ...more info
- Gone Baby Gone
Great start for actor turn director Ben Affleck. He definitely has the feel of the neighborhoods within Boston and the daily struggle these people endure. Great acting, movie score,art direction and direction. A must see! ...more info
- Another Win For a Boston Team: The Afflecks
It seems as though Boston has taken on a life of its own. Perhaps it is the fact that we are home to the indisputably best baseball, football and basketball teams but there is something else that intrigues the rest of the nation about Boston. Maybe it's the fact that those not from here find the accent intriguing, maybe they yearn for seafood right off of the boat or maybe its that the historic appeal of the city reminds us of our American heritage.
But filmmakers now see Boston as an interesting location to highlight in films, as well. One need not think back any further than The Departed to have images of what Boston is all about: a sort of rough and tumble blue collar city with a set of characters that will never be forgotten. One might say that Boston has a way of never being gone.
But what if one of Boston's own children goes missing? Does the same rough and gruff blue collar nature not care as much as suburbia? Or does Boston respond the same way as the rest of the country?
Written and directed by hometown hero Ben Affleck, Gone Baby Gone, based upon a book by Dennis Lehane, is a rather decent film that focuses on a child gone missing and the resulting search and lengths that go into the case.
The film stars Ben's brother Casey Affleck as Patrick Kenzie, a private investigator hired by the aunt and uncle of a young girl from Dorchester that has gone missing. Though Kenzie typically does not work these kinds of cases, he persuades his partner and love interest Angie Gennaro (Michelle Monaghan) to take on this case due to the emotional pull anyone would feel when a child goes missing.
Kenzie and Gennaro are quickly brought up to speed about the case by Capt. Jack Doyle of the Boston Police Department and he grants his assurances that the PI's hired by the family to help out on this case will have the full cooperation of the Boston Police Department. The lead detective investigating the case for the BDP is Det. Remy Bressant (Ed Harris).
Bressant at first seems hesitant about the entire operation that now has civilian PI's joining him in tracking down the potential kidnapper that has stolen the child. What Kenzie and Gennaro believe to have had happened is that a Haitian drug kingpin of the Boston area may have kidnapped the child due to the fact that the child's mother Helen McCready (Amy Ryan) may have scammed money from the drug dealer in a drug delivery deal gone bad.
Though it seems at times that Kenzie and Gennaro are on the right track in terms of tracking down the alleged kidnapper, a series of unforeseen subsequent actions always seems to get in the way of their work.
What finally comes about in terms of the resolution of the kidnapping certainly is quite unforeseen and is a well crafted and interesting twist to the rest of the story.
Although the film is directed by Boston native Ben Affleck, it is unforunate that the rest of the cast at times seems to have missed the entire Boston accent. There are times when the accent seems spot on and other times in which the accent sounds nothing like what the accent of Boston truly is.
The one thing that disappointed me about this film is that there seems to be a misconception that the Boston accent has an inherently built in propensity to throw in random profanities the same way as we might forget to pronounce our "R's" correctly. The language in the film seems to be a bit over the top and not overly necessary.
Being from the Boston area, it was nice to see that a great deal of the film was in fact filmed on location and did indeed show several recongizable sites around the greater Boston area. The picture quality in this film seemed spot on and highlighted the neighborhoods depicted in the film brilliantly.
Amy Ryan, who played the role of the missing girl's mother was a 2008 Nominee for Best Actress in a Supporting Role and rightfully deserved such a nomination. Ryan played the role of the oft strung out junkie mom quite well and seemed to embody the role that she was cast for nicely.
Gone Baby Gone certainly is a film that warrants being watched and thanks largely due to the interesting storyline at hand is a rather riveting watch. The movie fits nicely into the premise that no matter what Bostonians might do, they always do it well.
- A good movie based on a great book
Gone Baby Gone is a moody, atmospheric thriller set in Boston and starring Casey Affleck, Morgan Freeman, Ed Harris and Michelle Monoghan. Oh, its also directed by Ben Affleck. Before you snicker and think of Gigli, I've got to tell you this is a good movie. Casey Affleck is fun to watch, and Morgan Freeman and Ed Harris are always top notch. Michelle Monoghan is the only actor that seem's underused. From the first time I saw her, I thought she looked great as the gritty partner Angie Generro to Affleck's private investigator Patrick Kenzie. Yet it seems like they used the version of the script that had all her lines deleted. In most scenes she just stood there.
Anyway, this movie is based on a book written by Mystic River scribe Dennis Lehane. The book is great. I can't remember the exact details of the book, but I believe the movie has a different ending, one that is not as good as the book. In the movie, a young girl is kidnapped. Her aunt turns to Kenzie and Generro because she believes they can get people to talk to them that wouldn't talke to the police. That's true, and soon Kenzie has turned up some leads. Some leads work out and some don't and the ending leads to a perhaps a not so surprising twist.
The great thing about this movie is the setting. The people and locations seem real. More importantly, the despair and desperation feel real. The mom of the kidnapped little girl obviousy cares nothing about her child, and horrible, selfish parenting of this mom is the theme of the movie. Kids can't choose their parents, yet the action of the parents often determine whether or not the child will lead a good life. This is a good movie. Watch the movie, read the book. You'll enjoy both.
I came to this film with high expectations, I mean, it had gotten an Academy Award nomination for one of the supporting players, but honestly, I was perplexed as to what was so great about it, I mean, it's a decent yarn, up until the end, but hardly Mystic River. First let me say, I HATED Casey Affleck in this, his character is so naive and makes the most foolish, obtuse decision at the end, that ruins the film entirely, and Affleck never makes you like or support this yutz, so your just let with thinking, wow, what a moron. The story is interesting, in a Mystic River sort of way, and the supporting players, starting with Ed Harris are fantastic, I just can help but come back to the way Affleck plays this idiot cop, I just never bought this guy being such a sap and his ruinous decision he makes at the end is positively sickening, and the way it fades to black at the end, is like, uh Ok, is that IT?!...recommended, but not highly, frankly had it had a different lead, maybe it would have been great, who knows....more info
- reality hits you hard
I never saw the end coming. I knew the all situation was screwed up but not to that point.
The story is well developped, and the way the director shoot the scenes are stunning....more info
- A good movie by one Afflec destroyed by another!
A thoroughly interesting storyline, good screenplay, excellent depiction of the growing American underclass (this time in Boston) made for only a decent experience due entirely to the mistake of Ben bringing his little brother on as the main male character. His acting resembled a school play in a very small school on a bad day!
Try to ignore it and the movie is actually good and worth another Star. It raises important ethical dilemmas in today's world....more info
- great debut
Ben Affleck makes a spectacular directorial debut with his effort on GONE BABY GONE, getting wonderful performances across the board from his brother Casey to the small Boston regulars who fill in the background and amp up the authenticity on this terrific film. His co-authoring the adaptation is also a fine effort. The movie is gritty and real and well done....more info
- Bad Baby Bad
It's bad enough to sit through one disappointing movie after another. What's far worse is to see critics fawning all over a mediocre effort like Gone Baby Gone -- something that seems to be happening with greater frequency since Crash (unfortunately) won an Oscar for best picture. Have standards plummeted? Are critics less able to tell a good story from a bad one? Are brownie points being handed out for beating lowered expectations? That may, in part, be the case with Gone, Baby, Gone, since so many reviews express surprise that Ben Affleck (the director here) was involved and the movie isn't a complete disaster. As for it not being a complete disaster, I agree. But it's not far off. The saving grace of the film is Amy Ryan (who plays a thoroughly convincing wreck of a mother), although one good performance does not a movie make.
When I disagree with 94% of critics (at least according to Rotten Tomatoes), an explanation is probably in order.
First, let me try to make some sense of the story. (Yes, this means I will be revealing parts of the story.)
A white trash, drug-addled mother (Amy Ryan) has a strikingly beautiful daughter who she basically ignores -- so much so that her aunt and uncle become her default parents. As it turns out, the uncle may not appreciate having to babysit the kid, so when he overhears that the mother and her boyfriend may have stolen a bunch of loot from a drug dealer, he leaps into action. (The movie is murky, and later twists around a bit as to the uncle and his motivations for the events that follow. Is it greed alone? Does he want to "save" a child from a her wretched mother? One might speculate that if he wanted the best for the child, he might preserve the status quo, given that he and his wife seemingly are surrogate parents anyway, and that the aunt (at least) profoundly loves the child. At various points, the film suggests that the uncle (in addition to wanting the money) sought to have the child taken away from the mother entirely, or somehow believed that the kidnapping and ransom would make the mother realize how much she loved her child and convert her from a criminal and a drug addict into a better parent. The first is rather crazy, the latter is crazed.)
Returning to our story, the uncle, learning of the large cache of drug money, calls an old friend on the police force (a hammy Ed Harris) and, together, they apparently concoct the following plot: they're going to kidnap the little girl and, somehow, get the drug dough via blackmail. Somehow, they think this truly awful mother (who has basically abandoned the kid) is going to give up $150,000 for the return of the child she barely knows and can't be bothered with. (This is borne out after the kidnapping, when she barely seems interested in her daughter's fate.) In the meantime, someone beats the boyfriend to death looking for the drug money. (It is very possible, given the murky storytelling, that the uncle and his cop friend may be responsible for the beating. The drug dealer himself, we are told -- we are "told" just about everything in this movie -- didn't know about the theft until after the cop and uncle found out about it, and pretty convincingly denies any knowledge of the beating. In fact, he seems surprised to hear about the theft. So, perhaps, beating to death the mother's boyfriend is part of the plan concocted by the uncle and the cop. Given the moralizing of the story, why not? It's okay to kill people vigilante-style, plant evidence, and kidnap children. But I digress.)
Our story continues.
Apparently, the uncle didn't count on his wife being upset about the kidnapping of a niece she obviously adores. (Try to figure that one out.) And, as a consequence, the entire kidnapping plan gets out of hand as the aunt does what any caring relative would do when a little girl goes missing: she enlists the media and just about everyone else (including our main character and his girlfriend) to find the kid. It appears that this happens even before the uncle and cop even attempt to exchange the kid for the money takes place.
At this point, it really is worth asking whether the uncle and his cop friend ever really planned to give the kid back in exchange for money. After all, these two (we later learn -- or do we?) were most concerned about getting the kid away from the mother. Or, as later exposition (yet again) alternatively suggests, were they just trying to put the fear of god into the mother -- so they'd get the dough and turn her into a first-rate mom who would love and cherish her kid? (Give me a break.) At least these two noble idiots managed to brutally torture and then shoot her no good boyfriend, right? Maybe. Who the hell knows?
It goes downhill from there (if that's possible), and ends up with dopey reveal that an heroic police captain (Morgan Freeman playing Morgan Freeman) helped to stage the death of the little girl (executing a drug dealer in the process) for the purpose of kidnapping the girl and transplanting her into a better home away from her white trash mother. (Maybe the captain was involved in the plot from the beginning, but things are so jumbled that it's hard to know.) Then, our protagonist faces the deep moral dilemma of turning in the bad cops and returning the kid to her mother (and her aunt, who adores the girl), or not turning in the bad cops, becoming an accessory to kidnapping, and continuing to allow the child's heartbroken aunt to believe the little girl drowned. The protagonist's girlfriend leaves him (maybe) because of his choice (does it really matter what the choice was?), and then he gets to babysit the little girl when her mother goes on a date.
Let me summarize.
I found Gone, Baby, Gone sloppy and incoherent, not tough. It was filled with silly and incomprehensible ideas and moments, and rather than raising interesting moral issues, it presented them on a silver platter in these long, disjointed chunks of dialogue that felt like lectures in a low-rent philosophy class. The scene where Ed Harris recounts his own planting of evidence was bad acting, pure and simple, and even worse writing. You come away feeling like you've been lectured by a moron, which is hardly a way to draw the audience into a difficult ethical dilemma.
Some characters inexplicably disappear (what happened to Ed Harris at the pedophile's house?), others behave incomprehensibly (you really think a seasoned police officer who had his own child abducted would put another family through that?), and the final reveal is more ridiculous than surprising. With the child declared "dead," were they going to create an entirely fake identity for her? I suppose once you've kidnapped a child and left her loved ones devastated (at least some of them), murdered her father, and executed a couple of thugs, why not be an "angel" and obtain for her a fraudulent identity? I suppose these cops have enough connections to break into the local town office and plant a fake birth certificate and convince the Social Security Administration that they overlooked someone. Of course, then they have to deal with the fact that they've probably traumatized the kid by binding and blindfolding her, or was that just a fake flashback? And, forever after, they probably have to hide from this kid the true story of her life so as not to cause her even more psychological trauma.
The entire mess concludes with this rather glibly "artsy" ending reminiscent of the final scene in The Graduate -- with the main character realizing that he's gotten what he asked for, and returned a child to a mother who didn't even know the name of her doll. Droll, at best.
I get the sense that Ben Affleck simply couldn't handle the material. It was too complex for him, or perhaps too complex to be shoehorned into movie length. Either way, it's flawed and uninspired, except for the casting of a bunch of inbred yokels as extras. That, at least, had some visual appeal....more info
- Heartwrenching movie that will definitely make you cry.
I think that Ben Affleck is not so much as an actor, but as a director, he is amazing. I love that he included real people from Boston to be in this movie and the accents were obviously very realistic. I think Casey is a very good actor. Morgan Freeman is good as always. Ed Harris, I love. The movie was kinda dark, and the ending really ticked me off. If I was his girlfriend, I would have left him also. The little girl was happy and healthy and so much better off with Morgan Freeman. Her mother was trash. She didn't change, because they don't change. He was standing by some idealistic crap that just ended up costing him his relationship and a chance for a real future for that little girl....more info
- Gone baby, gone
I liked the story. It was very interesting and had lots of potential.It could have been a WHOLE lot better without all the bad language! The acting was okay but nothing great.
The premise of the movie makes you think and rethink and question things about parenthood. A child is kidnapped and drowned but that is only the beginning of this story. The twist that developes is inescapable.
I can't recommend it for every one because it has such bad language....more info
- Casey At The Bat Carries The Day
Like Clint Eastwood's Mystic River (2003), Ben Affleck's earnest but misguided directorial debut, Gone Baby Gone (2007) simultaneously panders to, coddles, sensationalizes, and exploits a tier of American society that might be labeled "the uneducated lower classes."
Establishing shots at the film's beginning reveal inner city streets occupied with people who uniformly appear worn, defeated, disenfranchised, desperate, angry, and hopeless. They are overweight and garishly dressed: stringy hair, sunken eyes, and pasty complexions seem to the permanent order of the day.
Unsurprisingly, within a very short time, a high percentage of these people--or others who look and act exactly like them--will be revealed as substance abusers, bar fighters, drug runners, dope dealers, liars, 'crooked cops,' child molesters, kidnappers, and abusive parents and spouses, like bargain-basement sociopaths all.
If Gone Baby Gone were a simple genre thriller, none of this would matter in the least; but Affleck has clearly conceived his project as another kind of film entirely. Like Mystic River, the overly-sensitive, precious tone of Gone Baby Gone suggests that it is socially relevant, wise, meaningful, and important, as if Affleck is courageously peeling back the curtain on a neglected, despised, and victimized segment of society, and carefully revealing its tragic truths to a presumably more affluent general public.
Affleck, who also co-wrote the screenplay, appears to expect the viewer to both sympathize with and pity the film's shiftless, corrupt characters, who, by an apparent act of God, are completely incapable of conducting their lives in a cautious, responsible, disciplined, mature, and rational fashion. Violence, rage, substance abuse, aggressive stupidity, cursing, and sadism, are, strangely enough, their only apparent behavioral options.
As a result of the film's skewered and self-limiting perspective, the 'controversial' ending, in which private investigator Patrick Kenzie (Casey Affleck) has to make an ostensibly difficult and critical decision about the fate of a young child, falls flat, since the screenplay expects its audience to ignore the fact that newly-retired police chief Captain Doyle (Morgan Freeman) has proven untrustworthy at best and a complete wild card at worst.
Indulgently, Gone Baby Gone asks the viewer to forgive Captain Doyle his many, largely-off camera trespasses because...decades ago, he once lost a young child under circumstances to those occurring in the present. And the loss of that child, apparently, is cause to 'understand' and forgive any subsequent action taken on the Captain's part, no matter how many bodies, innocent and otherwise, have recently piled up around him.
Despite its stereotypical characterizations, unconvincing dialog, implausible and never-ending plot complications, and the murky bleeding heart philosophy that suffuses and almost sinks the film, Ben Affleck still shows a remarkable talent as a first-time director. At its best, Gone Baby Gone is an intelligent and engaging film.
By far the film's greatest strength, however, is the remarkably grounded performance by brother Casey Affleck in the lead role. Seeming never less than fully alert and thinking at full tilt, the confident and poised younger Affleck successfully carries the film through its many unlikely twists and turns and unnecessary mystifications.
- Straightforward, non-stylized
In adapting Boston resident Dennis Lehane's crime novel Gone Baby Gone to the screen, the co-writer/director Ben Affleck chose what could be called a flat style, referring to a rock solid focus on what people really say, the words they really use in the wide range of emotional scenarios they're faced with. It's the antithesis of stylized; it's the first thing you think of when somebody says something to you that you like or you don't like; it's your first gut reaction to whatever was said.
This tends to draw the viewer into the film in a kind of inevitable way; you can't help wanting to listen to what's going on. The most flamboyant character is Remy Bressant, a cop played by Ed Harris; in a way, he provides the "style" element that's otherwise counterbalanced by the straight-ahead performances of Casey Affleck and Michelle Monaghan, the two young private investigators hired to find a missing little girl. Also counterbalancing Remy's more dramatic presence is Morgan Freeman, a quiet police captain who plays a critical role in the film.
The four stars are for a thoughtful, well-crafted film that's not afraid to make substantial use of locals in the Dorchester section of Boston to tell this story of innocence and corruption. It's an involving film that pulls you into it in spite of its 'flatness', in spite of its clearly non-stylized approach. The exact opposite of Affleck's Superman movie, Hollywoodland--full of Tinseltown style--Gone Baby Gone is a strong piece of work that should win at least some awards.
Definitely recommended....more info
- Hat's off to Alan Ladd Jr, Dan Rissner, and Sean Bailey for a big winner
I first heard of this film project in November of 2005 when Dan Rissner, one of the co-producers, contacted me to ask for the manuscript of an unpublished baseball novel I had on the back burner. I found him open and down to earth, and while he wasn't able to pull things together, I became interested in his work.
I've now seen the final product and I am impressed. It's not often I buy a DVD for my collection, but this time I did. All success storys begin with savvy casting, and here the producers made truly excellent choices: Casey Affleck might be a bit fuzzy cheeked, but he fit the iron-willed investigator perfectly, and the chemistry between him and his business partner/girlfriend Allie (Michelle Monaghan)felt genuine. Of course, with old pros Ed Harris and Morgan Freeman in supporting roles, the backup cast had to outdo itself and happily that's what they did. I was particularly taken with Amy Ryan as the undeserving and graceless mother of the kidnapped child. She was so convincing, I actually hoped she wouldn't end up getting her kid back.
Gone Baby Gone is not a happy story. It depicts life in the city where everything is hard-edged, nothing is ever for sure and openness and honesty are usually the first casualties. Highly recommended.
Art Tirrell is the author of the 2007 adventure novel The Secret Ever Keeps set on and under the waters of Lake Ontario.
"Simply put...the best underwater scenes I've ever read." - reviewer MW
- A Straining of Credulity
"Gone, Baby, Gone" is a film with great potential that somehow fails to deliver. It is a "whodunit" that, in the end, lapses into implausibility. Only the most credulous viewer could believe all the twists and turns of the plot.
The essence of the story involves the abduction of a small girl who was left unattended while the mother went to a bar. Apparently, this was not an isolated occasion. The mother is a heavy drinker and drug taker who mixes with bad company. Often, the child is left to her own devices.
My criticism of the film hinges on the implausible aspects of the plot. The film makers would have us believe that a high level conspiracy can exist within the Boston Police Department. Indeed, the conspiracy involves the covering up of child abduction and the resort to near vigilante tactics. Perhaps I have said too much and given away some aspects of the plot. This may be so but it is not entirely so. I am sure most viewers will not "click" to the story until near its end. Regardless, a cleverly contrived plot should not allow a story line that, upon reflection, is simply not believable.
Before I finish, I have one further criticism. The starring role is played by Casey Afleck. He performs well except for one point. Namely, his dialogue often descends to mumbling. Is it just me? I suspect not. If viewers have trouble comprehending dialogue from the lead player, then the film has problems.
- A great story, powerful message, and a well made movie.
Some people hate or simply don't care about the Afflecks. I didn't care about them until I saw Hollywoodland(Ben was very good in it),and now Casey here(I haven't seen the "Jesse James" movie, yet).
Ben proved to be a very good director with this movie.
Casey was impredictable and gave a very good performance.
The rest of the cast was very good too; Ed Harris, Amy Madigan, Morgan Freeman and Amy Ryan among others.
But two things I won't forget too soon;
First, Ryan's performance when she asks the cop to promise he will find her daughter(I usually don't cry at movies, and I was shocked to catch a tear or two rolling down my face while watching that scene).
Second, the amazing ending of this movie(Another moment of tears for me).
The message is powerful, but the best thing is that the story leaves it all up for YOU to be the judge.
One of the best "cop" movies I've seen lately and I'll put it up there ABOVE "Mystic River" and "The Departed".
- Very well done.
Gone Baby Gone (Ben Affleck, 2007)
My biggest fear with Gone Baby Gone, Ben Affleck's directorial debut, is that he was going to find some way, somehow, to blow the ending. What's truly impressive is that Affleck and co-screenwriter Aaron Stockard flirted with the idea of blowing the ending--you can almost see it coming in the final scene--and then pull back from the brink. I have no idea whether the feint was intentional or not, but either way, it puts the finishing touch on an already impressive movie.
Plot: Pat Kenzie (Casey Affleck) and Angela Gennaro (The Bourne Supremacy's Michelle Monaghan) are private detectives in South Boston. When a four-year-old child goes missing, her aunt (Pollock's Amy Madigan, who's been spending way too much of her time on TV these days) hires Kenzie and Gennaro to "augment the police search", in Kenzie's words, by talking to people who won't talk to the police. The captain (Morgan Freeman) isn't too thrilled with it, and neither are the two detectives, Remy Bressant (Ed Harris) and Nick Poole (Instinct's John Ashton), assigned as their police liaison. Everyone finds ways to work together, though the closer they get to the end of the rainbow, the more off the colors look. And it seems like every decision Kenzie makes is contrary to what Gennaro thinks he should do. Trouble cannot be far ahead in paradise.
I have to say, though, despite the fact that I really did like this movie, there was one thing about it that really, really annoyed me. It's something most people who read the book probably didn't even notice. During the first meeting with the detectives in the novel, Gennaro asks if Bressant minds if she smokes. Bressant looks at her longingly and says, "Please?". It was cut out of the movie, of course, because smoking is eeeeeeeeeeevil and can never, ever be portrayed in a positive light. But the movie does suffer from it; the scene, in a very few words and gestures, shows us something critical that's missing from the movie (and if I tell you what it is, I'll spoil one of the big, big revelations, so I won't. Just trust me). Still, it does well enough without that component. The actors are top-notch, the script tight and fast-paced, and as the ending tells us, Affleck doesn't pull his punches, either the one in front of the camera or the one behind it. Very well done. *** ?
- A for Affleck, B for Boston, C for Casey, D for ?
One of the most difficult tasks is adapting a book to the stage of film. However, this gritty urban (and urbane) drama deserves every star. It truly is an ensemle cast of excellent actors (and actresses). When you can forget Morgan Freeman is Morgan Freeman, or that Ed Harris is Ed Harris--there is something magical going on. From the dirty kitchen sinks of the "neighborhood" where the narrator grew up, to the quarry tagged in every available space, this rings true and is in a class with "To Kill A Mockingbird"--in color. Every few minutes there is a plot twist, and you don't really know who is good or evil--and in the end, you still will be left wondering. A great film leaves you with more questions that answers, and I would put this film in that category--especially when they are moral issues.
No plot recap is needed here--judge for yourself. You will not be wasting your time....more info