VOD film review: Gone Baby Gone
James R | On 04, Jun 2016
Director: Ben Affleck
Cast: Casey Affleck, Michelle Monaghan, Morgan Freeman, Ed Harris, Amy Ryan
Years before the excellent Oscar-winner Argo, Ben Affleck stepped behind the camera for this gritty thriller, penning the adaptation (with co-writer Aaron Stockard) from Dennis Lehane’s novel.
“I find the people who started in the cracks and then fell through,” croaks Casey Affleck’s vocally-challenged detective as he walks the streets of Boston. Patrick Kenzie’s larynx may be weak, but his accent is pitch perfect, as is his nose for a culprit.
Accompanied by his partner, Angie (Monaghan), he’s hired to investigate the disappearance of a little girl. Along the way, they annoy hard-working cops, people with grudges to bear, who each conveniently happen to have their own angry speech ready for the camera.
But amongst the absurd, Agatha Christie-like plot leanings, the screenplay creates a surprising amount of depth for Casey to work with. He may have a gun permanently shoved down his boxers, but he and Monaghan make for a mature pair. Making his first feature film, Ben’s camera captures their life in Boston with an impressive dose of grain, saturating the streets with grime and muck. But the debut director’s real triumph is eliciting engaging performances from his talented cast, particularly Amy Ryan.
The occasional witty remark (“CSI is just killing us, man”) plays off the film’s heavy melodrama to good effect. The dialogue is, in fact, the film’s strongest point. It’s just the contrived twists that let it down. Still, this is a watchable reminder that Ben once won a screenplay Oscar – and proof that the Pearl Harbour star is a natural behind the camera as well as in front of it.