Gone Baby Gone

DVD Reviews | Feb 14th, 2008

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Starring Casey Affleck, Ed Harris, Morgan Freeman, Amy Ryan, Michelle Monaghan, John Ashton, Amy Madigan
Written By: Ben Affleck, Aaron Stockard
Directed By: Ben Affleck
Studio: Miramax
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Ben Affleck’s Directorial debut, Gone Baby Gone is a thrilling drama set in Affleck’s hometown city of Boston about a missing child’s case and the ethical questions that go along with that particular case. Starring Casey Affleck, Amy Adams and Morgan Freeman, this ensemble cast does a tremendous job with the story and the setting, and what a perfect cast for Ben Affleck to work with on his first directorial gig. Gone Baby Gone was quite a surprise in many ways as Affleck’s impressive turn as Director brings a compelling and realistic story that makes everyone ask the question, “What would you have done?” by the end of the film.

Only about 10 percent of Missing Person Cases are ever resolved and the person is found. It’s quite a startling figure but in today’s world, the harsh realities of being a parent are even harder. Patrick Kenzie (C.Affleck) is a local private detective who may be able to help solve the case that the Boston P.D may not be able to. Patrick grew up in this part of Boston his whole life and knows the people of the area and they may be able to talk and open up to Patrick when they wouldn’t to the cops. Along with Kenzie is his girlfriend and partner, Angie (Monaghan). The two work alongside the two lead detectives Remy Bressant and Nick Poole (Harris and Ashton.) Together they are running out of time to find young Amanda McGready and need to work together to track down who is responsible and hopefully bring a happy ending to this horrifying case. Amanda’s mother Helen is a mess, played wonderfully by Amy Ryan and has since been nominated for an Oscar for this role. Helen is a drug addict and may not be suitable to be a parent, but nevertheless, her child has gone missing. One reason is that she stole $130,000 from a gang leader. Real smart lady. Kenzie now must use his local contacts to try and track down this thug and get to the bottom of the case. After a botched exchange, the case is closed and Kenzie must try and move forward, but he can’t. Something is just not right with that case and its going to bother him until he finds the answers. Eventually he does and down the road is forced to make some very difficult decisions. I bet everyone that watches this film, must ask the same thing to themselves when faced with the same decision, “What would you do in this situation?”

Only a few extras are included on this disc featuring some extended scenes including an extended intro and ending and some extra scenes in between. Go inside Ben Affleck’s head alongside writer Aaron Stockard as they provide commentary while watching the film. It’s certainly interesting to hear the commentary since this is Affleck’s first directorial job. Also they go into the casting of the film, which I must say is top notch and can’t get any better for an ensemble piece. Not to mention that the City of Boston was showcased throughout the film. Certain neighborhoods and sections were on display and some local folks were asked to be in the film, making their movie debuts. It’s interesting and cool to see at the same time since Ben Affleck also came from those streets and is providing a homage to the area.

Gone Baby Gone certainly surprised me as far as interest goes. When I first saw the previews I immediately thought it was another Mystic River rip off but this is part of another series of successful novels by Dennis Lehane and I was wrong about the movie. I felt this movie had better pacing and casting than “River,” and certainly was different than Mystic River. Sure, they both take place in Boston and to a degree involve missing person’s cases but other than that, I think Affleck and Co. did a great job with this film. How can you go wrong with actors like Morgan Freeman, Ed Harris, and Casey Affleck. Not to mention a performance by Amy Ryan that was just fantastic. If this is what Ben Affleck can show he is capable of as a director, I can’t wait to see what’s up his sleeve after this film.

Thought Provoking Extended Ending
Deleted Scenes With Optional Commentary by writer/director Ben Affleck and wrtier Aaron Stockard
Going Home: Behind The Scenes with Ben Affleck
Capturing Authenticity: Casting Gone Baby Gone
Audio Commentary By writer/director Ben Affleck and writer Aaron Stockard.

Widescreen 1.85:1 Color (Anamorphic)

ENGLISH: Dolby Digital 5.1
SPANISH: Dolby Digital Stereo
FRENCH: Dolby Digital Stereo

English, Spanish, French

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Rating: R
Running Time: 114 minutes
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