Bopping with Niall JP O'Leary

Niall O'Leary insists on sharing his hare-brained notions and hysterical emotions. Personal obsessions with cinema, literature, food and alcohol feature regularly.

Sunday, July 06, 2008

Gone Baby Gone

Directed by Ben Affleck, 'Gone Baby Gone', is one of the finest thrillers from America this year. Partner detectives Patrick Kenzie (Casey Affleck) and Angie Gennaro (Michelle Monaghan) are hired to find a missing four year old. That the child's mother is a drug-addict and the Boston community she inhabits is none too helpful doesn't help matters. Things soon take an even darker turn, however, when crime lords, shady drug deals and a family of paedophiles get mixed into the story.
Poor old Ben Affleck has been suffering for years from critical assaults on his acting (not entirely deserved, in my view). On this evidence though he has a long and creditable career ahead of him behind the camera. As one might expect, he is excellent when it comes to working with his cast and everyone involved is uniformly excellent. Ed Harris for one gives one of his strongest perfomances for a long time, while Amy Madigan is memorable in her brief role as the missing child's aunt. Casey Affleck and Monaghan fill their central roles perfectly, while Morgan Freeman manages to be a little more complex than his usual 'noble' self.
Affleck's efforts are not confined to the cast; he manages to build the tension with great sureness, while giving us a personable Boston that still seems full of pain, menace and loss. (This, even while managing to get a rooftop reference to that other Boston-set movie, 'The Departed', into his film.) And, despite nearly two hours of a running time, he never lets the audience off the hook. This is most notable with regard to the moral dilemmas the film poses to its audience (and there are several). Unusually for a major Hollywood film it does not duck out at the last.
If last year's 'Michael Clayton' deserved an Oscar nomination for best picture, 'Gone Baby Gone' deserves the statuette. A fine piece of work that should be seen.



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