If you have been waiting for an intelligent thriller, you won’t be disappointed by Ben Affleck’s directorial debut called Gone Baby Gone. Nepotism apart, Brother Ben has wisely cast his younger sibling Casey as private detective Patrick Kenzie, who is hired by the Aunt of a missing 3-year old child named Amanda to “augment” a missing person investigation. Kenzie and his girlfriend Angie (Michelle Monaghan) decide to cooperate with local Police Chief Doyle (Morgan Freeman) and form a tenuous partnership with Detectives Nick (John Ashton) and Remy (Ed Harris). Angie and Patrick discover information that reveals little Amanda was allegedly taken by a drug peddler named Cheese in retaliation for the child’s mother stealing $130,000 from a cocaine buy gone badly. The private eyes convince Nick and Remy to let them broker a deal to exchange Amanda for the missing money; but in a stakeout gone bad, Cheese is shot and the little girl is thrown into watery quarry where she is presumed to be drowned.
There’s an old saying that “The road to hell is paved with good intentions” and as layers of the plot are revealed, Patrick learns that instead of finding criminals responsible for the loss of child, he discovers a much different reality; it is the people that hold the public trust who manipulate justice to serve their own ends. Through every turn he remains a tenacious plodder who is willing to seek pure moral truth, subsequently doing the right thing no matter what the consequences. This film presents the argument that refusing to compromise one’s values may produce ultimate discontent.
Gone Baby Gone is one of the year’s best films and will most certainly garner Oscar nominations for directing, acting and writing. As a lead actor, Casey Affleck is unusually engaging and believably navigates the mean streets of Boston, a neighborhood the director populates with seedier elements of the working class. It is a story brimming with tension and violence that explodes unexpectedly with realism rarely seen in American film.
GONE BABY GONE
Directed by: Ben Affleck
Cast: Casey Affleck, Morgan Freeman, Michelle Monaghan, Ed Harris
Distributed by: Miramax