When 4 year old Amanda McCready disappears from her home and the police make little headway in solving the case, the girl's aunt, Beatrice McCready hires two private detectives, Patrick Kenzie and Angie Gennaro. The detectives freely admit that they have little experience with this type of case, but the family wants them for two reasons - they're not cops and they know the tough neighborhood in which they all live. As the case progresses, Kenzie and Gennaro face drug dealers, gangs and pedophiles. When they are about to solve the case, they are faced with a moral dilemma that tears them apart.
Do you know people in the neighborhood who don't talk to the police?
Gone Baby Gone is directed by Ben Affleck and Affleck co-adapts the screenplay with Aaron Stockard from the novel of the same name written by Dennis Lehane. It stars Casey Affleck, Michelle Monaghan, Ed Harris, Morgan Freeman, John Ashton and Amy Ryan. Music is by Harry Gregson Williams and cinematography by John Toll.
Private Investigators Patrick Kenzie (Affleck) and Angie Gennaro (Monaghan) are hired to find missing child Amanda McCready (Madeline O'Brien). It appears to be a simple case of a kidnapping, but the deeper the investigators go the darker the truths become.
A potent drama, Gone Baby Gone offers up a mystery that is propelled by moral murkiness. Unsurprisingly given it's from a Lehane novel, the twists and deep characterisations dovetail seamlessly with the very real feel of a Boston neighbourhood, the sense of place and community superbly marshalled by Ben Affleck (in what was his debut as a director). The story is so strong it makes us the viewers part of the search for missing Amanda, which in turn forces us to answer the ethical quandaries thrust upon Patrick Kenzie.
With tech credits firmly in the plus column and the director un-showy and assured enough to keep the key third act from dragging the picture down, this proves to be very good film making. Pic only has minor faults to be bothered by. Monaghan is a fine actress but she is hard to take here in a street wise role, though with a nicely cast Casey Affleck dominating their scenes she gets away with it. The sharp of mind should pick up on what is driving the mystery forward, whilst the ambiguity at resolution point can go either way for respective viewers appreciation or otherwise. But this is all told a rewarding piece of adult cinema and recommended for sure. 8/10
Miramax, The Ladd Company by Ben Affleck, Aaron Stockard, Dennis Lehane.
Stars: Morgan Freeman, Ed Harris, Casey Affleck, Michelle Monaghan.
Genres: Crime, Drama, Mystery, Thriller
Keywords: corruption robbery detective based on novel or book boston, massachusetts kidnapping blackmail police murder conspiracy gang pedophile violence drugs alcoholic addict child kidnapping neo-noir kidnapped child
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