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Monday, June 09, 2008

Gone Baby Gone - the 'he's so much better behind the camera' review

Gone Baby Gone (15)

Dir. Ben ‘where did my acting career go?’ Affleck

Reviewed by Matt Adcock

When I heard the words ‘gone baby gone’ and ‘Ben Affleck’ together I could only think that it was some kind of question and answer session like: ‘so Ben where did your acting career go?’ To which he replies ‘it’s gone baby, gone’.
But it is actually the title of Affleck’s highly impressive directorial debut and it seems that the former ‘Bennifer’ tabloid case study can actually deliver the goods from the other side of the camera!

Gone Baby Gone is a truly excellent crime thriller from Dennis Lehane – who also wrote Clint Eastwood’s hit Mystic River. Set on the mean streets of Boston this is a heart wrenching, edge of your seat tale of the kidnap of a young girl and the grisly moral fallout that transpires. It might not be a feel good movie but this is one which will have you comtemplating the darkest elements of human nature and the rights and wrongs of following the letter of the law for some time after the lights come up.

Starring the talented younger Affleck brother Cassey who delivers another incredible lead performance (hot on the heels of his impressive turn in The Assassination of Jesse James). Ably supported by the gritty Morgan Freeman, the mean Ed Harris and the hot Michelle Monaghan, there are simply no weak links here, and the characters are so well written that you’ll be sucked right in.

It is easy to see why the UK release of Gone Baby Gone was delayed in the light of the Madeleine McCann tragedy as the subject matter is too close for comfort and just as deeply traumatic. But nothing is quite what it seems here and a creeping sense of unease and gut level dread is well sustained.

The script sparkles with quoteable lines such as my favourite from the Det. Remy Bressant: “You gotta take a side. You molest a child, you beat a child, you're not on my side. If you see me coming, you better run, because I am gonna lay you out!” There is real wit mixed in with the macho posturing and painful recriminations.

After some killer twists and turns, in the end the plight of Helene (Amy Ryan), the mother of the missing girl, is one which will make you think and stay with you.

It seems that everyone wants the truth... Until they find it… Highly recommended.

"do we look like we believe you?"

DARKMATTERS RATING SYSTEM (all ratings out of maximum 10 but '-' is bad whereas '+' is good):

Endorphin Stimulation: ööööööööö (9)

+ Well written plot that grips and thrills...

Tasty Action: ööööööö (7)
+ Some crunching but necessary violence

Gratuitous Babeness: öööööö (6)
+ Michelle Monaghan is cute and so was the babe at cineworld we met afterwards...

Mind Blight / Boredom: ööö (3)
+ This will keep you squirming and guessing

Comedic Value: ööööööö (7)
+ Some very funny stuff and great banter

Arbitrary final rating: ööööööööö (9)
+Very strong contender for a 'top 10 of the year' place

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