Well, everyone, this week I’m talking about something I never thought I would talk about, at least not in a positive way. That would be a Ben Affleck movie. Wipe the perplexed expression off your face, because it’s not a movie he starred in, it’s one that he co-wrote and directed, and it’s called “Gone Baby Gone,” based off the book of the same name, by Dennis Lehane. I have to admit that I was blown away by it, and it’s a movie that is so unfortunately relevant that its premiere over in the UK had to be postponed because of a situation that, to a degree, mirrored what was going on in the film.
Debuting in 2007, the “Baby” stars Casey Affleck (Ben’s brother, and the one who’s actually a very decent actor), Michelle Monaghan, Amy Madigan, Morgan Freeman, Ed Harris, Ed Harris’ awesome wig, and Amy Ryan, who was nominated for a Best Supporting Actress Oscar for her role, and who some of you may know as Michael Scott’s latest ex-girlfriend on “The Office.” Affleck and Monaghan play a couple in the movie who also work together as private investigators. When a 4-year-old girl is kidnapped, they’re hired by the family to “assist” the police in the search, in other words, to talk to the people who won’t talk to the police. Ed Harris plays the hard-edged detective who works with them, while his awesome wig simply lies there and makes him look cool.
I’ll tell you right off the bat that this is not a happy movie. That doesn’t mean that it does or does not have a happy ending, I’m just saying that overall the tone is very grim. I’ll give Benny boy credit, for he sure put together a film that seems extremely realistic and gritty, and is what I like to call a dirt-under-the-fingernails type movie. The mother of the missing girl (played by Amy Ryan) is a perfect example. Like I said before, she’s been on “The Office,” which I’m a huge fan of, but the way she’s put together in this movie is so opposite of what she looks like in real life that I didn’t even realize it was her until I looked her name up.
The setting, as well, is as big a character as anyone else in the movie is. It takes place in a seedy area of Boston, the kind of, as said in “Renaissance Man,” that you drive through going 80. And it has a whole crew of inhabitants to match. Nobody backs down. Everyone has a four-letter word ready to fire, and almost everyone has a gun with which to back it up, leading me to believe that they’re all followers of the adage that says you can get farther with a kind word and a gun than you can with a kind word. I think I’ll stick with the kind words.
Bottom line, this is a well-written, very well-casted, enthralling movie that will definitely make you think things over.
Joe Altomere is a freelance movie writer for The Banner and some of our company’s Web sites. His column is published in The Banner each Saturday.