Saturday, February 02, 2008

Gone Baby Gone (2007)

Gone Baby Gone. Film review. Casey Affleck has a very good year. He was noticed in his low-key performance in The Assassination of Jesse James (review of it just below this pots), and he leads the pack of great performances (though not necessarily be the best of them) in this yet another of my personal gem of film in the year 2007, which surprisingly came from the first time director, Ben Affleck, who i could say that he does a great job in directing, probably more than he ever was as an actor.

Gone Baby Gone is an mystery/thriller film with a twist, and a question of moral thrown out for good measure at the end of the film. Patrick Kenzie (Casey Affleck), a private investigator with his better-half partner/girlfriend, Angie Gennaro (Michelle Monaghan) were asked by Lionel and Beatrice McCready to investigate the wherabouts of their niece, Amanda who has been kidnapped. They were reluctant at first to take the case, but of course, who would say no when they (especially Angie) saw the picture of the missing little girl. The girl's mother Helene (Amy Ryan) was seemingly an irresponsible mother, is a drug-addict, whose bitterness and the company she keeps weren't exactly the trait of a good-mother nor a parent figure that a child needed to grow. The police chief, Jack Doyle (Morgan Freeman) doesn't recommend the private investigators, but provides the couple with a close assistance by Remy Bressant (Ed Harris) and Nick Poole (John Ashton), the two senior police officers working in the case.

The Amanda investigation ends halfway of the film. But when the film takes on another child missing, it's inevitably back to the Amanda case. I was on a fear that i would reveal too much if i was about to pointed out the film's strengths. The film goes progressively better, with the first half follows the couple's investigation as they conduct interviews, piecing clues and finally confront with the conclusion of the investigation, the second half (which naturally, a better half), in addition of slicing the facts to reveal another truth behind the kidnapping, also the dilemmas that Patrick and Angie would faced and ultimately changed their fates (in a manner that literally broke my heart), and on top of it, a moral question of what is 'right'. Really, i can't tell you much about the film because i was afraid that it would reveals too many to the plot. But believe me when i say that this film is one of my best film in 2007. Probably ended up very high too.

I see this film back-to-back with The Assassination of Jesse James. And honestly, i was indifferent with Casey Affleck. He still had that melancholy look on his face, a facial gesture so familiar, that made me vehemently couldn't vouch wether it was what really his character demands for or he's a naturally melancholy man from the beginning. Michelle Monaghan is just doing her routine, never outshone her partner, but merely as a sidekick, noticed but safe for the end scene, ignorable. Morgan Freeman plays someone noble but the moral question of what is 'right' made him rather tarnished but still a noble nonetheless, this dualism of character was something that he's known to excel at. But, the best performances of this film came from Ed Harris and Amy Ryan. Ed Harris went to various range of traits from deceit, cowardice, proud, and noble. Amy Ryan portrays a mother whose self-centeredness and neglection won't get any sympathy, but also shown that she was after all, a mother who has just lost her child.

In the end, by deciding (for a good cause!) to not reveal anymore than i had to, i may not be able to point out the film's strengths. But, this film is a powerful film, and since it came from the same writer who wrote Mystic River, i would say that it was safe to compare the film with it. Though i must say that i liked this film a bit better. And i have said that the year 2007 has been a really good year in film, and this film was easily among the best of the year.

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