- Released Internationally on 19/10/07
- Released in Malta by KRS on 25/06/08
In a nutshell
Ben Affleck’s directorial debut, about two detectives uncovering more than they bargained for when they investigate the disappearance of a four-year-old girl.
Why we’re hyped
This was released last October on the other side of the Atlantic, and it attracted a lot of praise, especially for the acting and for Affleck’s directing. (The release was delayed in certain parts of Europe, especially the UK, due to the uncanny similarities with the real-life missing British four-year-old Madeleine McCann).
Who’s in it?
Affleck’s younger brother Casey (Ocean’s 11, 12 and 13, The Last Kiss) and Michelle Monaghan (Mission: Impossible III) are the two detectives, whilst Morgan Freeman (The Shawshank Redemption, Batman Begins) and Ed Harris (Apollo 13, A Beautiful Mind) add class and experience, whilst Amy Ryan (Capote) delivers a head-turning supporting role.
I wasn't surprised to discover that the author of the book on which Gone Baby Gone is based also wrote Mystic River, because both films have a bleak, working-class feel about them, and both are very good crime dramas set in the seedier areas of Boston. The plot follows two young but street-wise private investigators who are persuaded to 'augment' the police investigation into the disappearance of a four-year-old girl. As expected, the boys in blue aren't too pleased to see them at first, but eventually they join forces to track the girl down before it's too late. The deeper they dig, the more dirt they uncover, and Casey Affleck's character has to question his own beliefs and what he's willing to sacrifice in order to do what he believes is the right thing.
To elaborate too much on the plot would be a disservice to the film, because Ben Affleck carefully peels back layer after layer of his plot onion, and does so quite brilliantly for a first-time director. The acting is top-notch on all levels, from Morgan Freeman as the police chief all the way down to Amy Ryan as the distraught mother. The real revelation though is Ben's brother, Casey, who after playing a wimp so convincingly in last year's Jesse James, walks the streets here as a confident no-nonsense and often unorthodox investigator.
There's not much to complain about here. It's not exactly light summer fare, so don't sit down expecting an easy two hours. But not since Arlington Rd. have I sat during the end credits of a film and questioned so many of those things I previously took for granted.
For anyone who followed the excessive media coverage of the McCann case, scenes from this film might be hard to handle since the child actress is eerily alike. However, apart from looks and age, these two missing person cases have little in common. Still, it serves as a shocking reminder that makes the film all the more relevant. There is a lot to discuss in this thought-provoking story, and part of its message is about a reality that is all around us.
http://www.apple.com/trailers/miramax/gonebabygone/ (High-res QuickTime)