Gone Baby Gone (2007) Directed by Ben Affleck. With Casey Affleck, Michelle Monaghan, Morgan Freeman and Ed Harris.
A little girl goes missing in Boston. Two local private detectives are hired by the family to investigate her disappearance, working alongside the police and community. Based on a novel by Dennis Lehane, Gone Baby Gone is the directing debut of Ben Affleck – a sombre drama-thriller posing some difficult moral questions.
Casey Affleck and Michelle Monaghan are boyfriend-girlfriend detectives taking on the case. Her reluctance to become involved is superseded by his curiosity, as they use their local contacts to gain information the police aren’t privy to, drawing them deep into the heart of the search for the missing child.
As a debut director, Ben Affleck does a fine job of keeping hold of his narrative, building intrigue and posing some dividing questions. There’s an air of hostility to the whole piece, backed up by a sense of futility inherent in the lives of the people living day-to-day in one of America’s many lost communities – a place where drugs and crime are a way of life.
The film is complimented by the dual heavyweight presence of Morgan Freeman and Ed Harris in key roles, bringing their dramatic chops to a story fused together by sadness and regret. In the lead role, Casey Affleck fits well as the underdog – disrespected by the cops for his youthful appearance and confronted with aggression by resentful locals.
Although it will be a difficult viewing experience for any parent, Gone Baby Gone is a hard film to pick fault with. That said, given the subject matter, it isn’t a film that you’d select to re-watch again and again. All things considered, a solid debut from Ben Affleck with some strong talking points. 3.5/5