The great thing about the unlimited card at cineworld is that you don’t have too worry too much about taking chances on films that may or may not be good. This definitely applied to Gone Baby Gone, which is something of a curate’s egg of a film.
It starts off as a standard enough “kid disappeared, PI’s try to find her, conflict with cops, stakeout goes wrong” but then it goes through a number of rather contrived plot loops but more about that later.
It’s Ben Affleck’s directorial debut and in terms of atmosphere, setting & tone, he really nails the “Bawstun” feel right at the start. Casey Affleck is excellent in the lead role but he has some great material to work with. Michelle Monaghan is weak in her role as his girlfriend. Amy Ryan is also excellent as the mother of the missing child. She’s a rather loathsome character and it’s her character that gives force to the moral quandary that arises later in the film. For such a big name actor, Morgan Freeman’s smallish role does seem a little phoned in but his last scene looking out the window of a car proves his worth to the film. Ed Harris starts off well but he’s lumbered with most of the rather contrived plot twists and by the end, he’s rather peripheral which is a shame.
Direction-wise, it’s a very promising debut from Ben Affleck but the film is at least half an hour too long and after the great start drifting the camera over the inhabitants of the neighbourhood with Casey Affleck’s voiceover, the pacing does go awry.
It is a very ambitious debut and there’s no shame in failure for that. It is a morally ambiguous film that will have you asking what choice you would have made and quite possibly rooting for the guys who broke the law and for that, it definitely deserves a watch.