Another movie dealing with the loss of a child, this one excels on pretty much every level. Gone Baby Gone is an adaptation of the Dennis Lehane(Mystic River) novel by Ben Affleck in his directorial debut. I have always been a fan of Affleck and I am glad that he does a great job here which is supported by his great cast.
Leading the cast is Ben’s brother Casey who, along with Jesse James, is having a breakthrough year. Casey is just as good here as he is in Jesse James but is playing a completely different animal. As a private investigator contracted to help with the “neighborhood” investigation of the disappearance of a little girl he is a great as the evolving investigator gaining experience on the job. Affleck is accompanied by his girlfriend, Michelle Monaghan who helps with the detective work; though Affleck is usually figuring out most of the turns. As Affleck moves through his investigation we find twists and turns and fall onto some unexpected paths with some amazing tense scenes that get the blood rushing and wont let up.
The rest of the cast is rounded out by a couple of legends, Morgan Freeman as a police captain and Ed Harris as the cases detective. Freeman is more in the background, but good as always, while Ed Harris is fantastic as the rough detective willing to do anything to get the girl. He gets so intense and so scary with some of the investigated sometimes you are glad you don’t have to deal with his tactics.
Another great turn is by, Amy Ryan, as the mother of the missing girl. You completely forget she is some actor and totally buy into her as this horrible druggie mother that is lost in the trash and underworld of Boston. You just don’t really like her, might even hate her, yet she maintains some sympathy. But when you really hate a character, you know the actor is doing a pretty damn good job.
Ben Affleck does a great job at making this movie feel real as well, which makes it easy to buy into the world. No one is really attractive in this, its gritty and dirty, and it’s a place I wouldn’t want to be in. Even Amy Ryan and Michelle Monaghan some how manage to be not very appealing for being beautiful women. As the rest of the directing duties go, Affleck has some great moody scenes and shoots tension incredibly well and crafted a story that for the most part stays entertaining; rarely slowing up at all.
The movie is carried by a good story with great actors doing what they are supposed to do for a fantastic debut for Ben Affleck as a director. I hope he gets behind and in front of the camera a lot more in the future and that is brother becomes the star that he deserves to be sooner, rather than later.