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October 31, 2007 > Gone Baby Gone

Gone Baby Gone

By Shari Wargo

The film "Gone Baby Gone", based on the novel written by Dennis Lehane who also wrote "Mystic River", is a haunting and accomplished piece. After watching the film you may find yourself wishing you could get some of the images out of your mind.

Without giving too much away, the film is about a missing little girl. Though she is absent most of the film and doesn't talk much when she is seen, her character presence is very strong. Little Amanda McCready (Madeline O'Brien) is suddenly taken in the middle of the night while sleeping at home in Dorchester, Boston. The entire film builds on this incident and moves to directions one wouldn't think possible.

Amanda's Aunt Beatrice (Amy Madigan) is very distraught about the loss of her niece and what the police have done so far about it. To find Amanda faster she goes to private investigators Patrick Kenzie (Casey Affleck) and Angie Gennaro (Michelle Monaghan) because they know people in the neighborhood the police don't.

Initially, the investigators are reluctant to take the case, but after seeing a picture of Amanda they decide to do whatever they can to help. Patrick and Angie interview Helene (Amy Ryan), Amanda's mother, and find out that she is a negligent drug dependent and alcoholic parent.

Though the first fifteen minutes of the film is a little slow, it is crucial for story development. Initially, Patrick is caught in a situation where people in town and the cops dislike him and the cops dislike him. Half way through the film, both sides seem to cooperate with him a bit better, but by then, they give up on finding Amanda.

Still in search for truth and answers, Patrick goes into the house of two cocaine addicts who may be hiding a pedophile, originally suspect in Amanda's case. Patrick goes inside to save a little boy who he thinks may be in the house and finds the pedophile on the floor of his bedroom saying "it was an accident." This is the most graphic scene in the entire movie; the second of two scenes that will haunt you when the movie's over.

The other part of the movie that will replay in your mind is what occurs in the last ten minutes. Patrick is shown something unforgettable and has to make a decision. The last scene is held for a little too long, but sends questions through your mind that are sure to create discussion.

This film is rated "R" for a reason, it is ideally graphic in that it doesn't really show graphic content, but is filled with graphic language and ideas. The main cast of this film is compiled of astounding actors, each perfect for the role they play. The rest of the people seen in this movie, especially in the beginning, are very real and may not even be actors. This film shows people with bra straps showing, smeared eye liner and hairy lips, stains on their clothes, trashed houses, and that are overweight and drug addicted. The people of Dorchester are vulgar; very appropriate to their characters. The accents and wardrobe in the film also seem to be very well cast though the jumpsuit outfit Patrick wears seems more like something Ben Affleck would wear.

There is a lot of talk comparing Ben Affleck to Clint Eastwood, simply because he is now directing. Affleck has actually already directed two films. This one is just the first to become a major motion picture, and one can tell that he put his heart into this film.

"Gone Baby Gone" is filled with intellectual and realistic concepts, mind-turning events, action, graphic content, and heart that will creep up on you weeks after having seen it. The film is also filled with concepts and dialogue that one could ponder for days and appreciate the amazing accuracy of what is said. Though many lines in the film are memorable, one that propels the story into motion is when Patrick says, "He lied to me. Now I can't think of one reason big enough for him to lie about that's small enough not to matter."

Rated: R

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