Michelle Monaghan and Casey Affleck in Gone Baby Gone (2007)

Do the Right Thing

Whilst as an actor Ben Affleck has made some wrong decisions when it comes to what movie he has starred in his choice of story to make his directional debut is certainly not. This is a powerful story, a first class mystery which Affleck not only directed but also helped adapt from a novel. It starts with haunting realism as we enter a missing child situation but evolves into something else, something else which whilst seems improbable is so well worked out within the story is believable. As such my advice to you if you have come here looking for information on "Gone Baby Gone" is to watch the movie because the less you know before hand the better it is.

When a young girl called Amanda McCready (Madeline O'Brien) goes missing the child's aunt employs local detectives Patrick (Casey Affleck - The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford) and Angie (Michelle Monaghan - Mission: Impossible III) to assist on the case because of their knowledge of the area and the people they can speak to which the police can't. As they start asking questions they find that the missing child may be connected to a drug dealer whose had money stolen. But just as it looks like they maybe able to solve the case they are faced with a dilemma which challenges their moral base.

Morgan Freeman as Jack Doyle in Gone Baby Gone (2007)

To discuss "Gone Baby Gone" would be wrong because this is a first class mystery and to go in to detail would spoil so much, but I can mention the opening as Patrick and Angie watch on the news as the family of Amanda speak to the media. It is frighteningly realistic, the melee of press outside the McCready's home, the neighbour who says it is a tragedy and they are holding a vigil, it is as if you are watching real life footage from a news report. And at the same time we get the first element which establishes that whilst Patrick and Angie are partners both professionally and personally they have differences especially Angie's reluctance to get involved in a missing child case in fear of what they find. Credit to Ben Affleck for crafting such a realistic and dramatic opening which hooks you so quickly.

But as I said this movie whilst starting on the subject of a missing child evolves and without going in to too much detail Ben Affleck and Aaron Stockard have done a great job of adapting a novel retaining all the crucial elements which make the mystery believable. And at the same time do a good job of bringing to the fore the real focus of the movie which is doing the right thing. Again without too much detail the focus falls on Patrick because he finds himself in situations where his moral base is challenged as to what would the right thing to do in a situation.

Now whilst Ben Affleck does a fantastic job behind the camera, pacing "Gone Baby Gone" so that it is compelling it is Casey Affleck who delivers the big performance in front of the camera. Sharing a screen with Morgan Freeman, Ed Harris, Michelle Monaghan and John Ashton, Casey never seems over shadowed in fact his performance of a skinny, young looking detective in a tough Boston area is fascinating. But then so is watching him battle with himself over doing the right thing, when situations arise, you can sense he is battling what he knows is lawfully right and what is right on a more personal level.

What this all boils down to is that "Gone Baby Gone" is a stunning movie which grabs you within minutes of starting and keeps you glued to every second as the story evolves. And whilst it is one of those movies where the big impact comes from the first time you watch it the quality of the story, acting and directing means it is well worth more than one viewing.