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RE: Good but not great - 14/6/2008 2:53:28 PM   

Posts: 723
Joined: 1/3/2006
From: The Narrows
I really enjoyed this film. Who would have thought that Ben Affleck could produce something as good as this, based on the fact he's done nothing but rubbish in recent time(Hollywoodland excluded). A good thriller with some excellent performances in particular Casey Affleck, who has really stepped up his game over the last year or so from bit part actor(e.g Oceans Series) to leading man.


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Post #: 31
Gone Baby Gone - 16/6/2008 10:41:00 AM   


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Post #: 32
RE: Gone Baby Gone - 16/6/2008 1:51:52 PM   

Posts: 20064
Joined: 30/9/2005
From: Springfield
...Spoilers are in invisiotext, so you can read safe that the film will remain unspoilt...
It's been a while since I saw a well-crafted, adult thriller with real characters, solid acting, and a story that, while it may stretch the fabric of credibility, is told within a credible framework that makes holds it together through twist and turn. Gone Baby Gone, as far as directorial debuts go, is excellent. It depicts a world that is microcosmic - a small Boston neighbourhood that is insular in itself, but that is burst open onto the world after a four year old girl goes missing. A passing resemblance to Madeleine McCann (and the first name shared by the actress) is all the connection with that real-life case that forced this film to have a delayed release in the UK. There any similarity ends. This is a world where there are no innocents, no blacks and whites, only greys. This is real.

Affleck (the older) directs with confidence, and big name actors become credible characters. Morgan Freeman, in a rare less-sympathetic role is excellent. His police chief has an emotional connection with the case as his daughter was murdered 15 years previously, and he retells the case in horrifying detail, so that Kenzie (Affleck, the younger) and the audience, can fully see (even if not fully understand) the impact that the loss of a child can have on a parent. Casey Affleck and Michelle Monaghan as the detectives make for an interesting pair. Far from the whisky-swilling, cigar-chomping, burger-biting, overweight sweaty PI, or even the whisky-swilling, cigar-chomping, suave debonair PI that movies will tell you are truth, this couple is a young, ordinary pair from the same neighbourhood as the abductee's mother. Turning up in sweaters and tracksuits, they are the epitome of ordinary, and Affleck's naturally youthful looks play wonderfully in a stand-off against Freeman's Jack Doyle. It also provides a great contrast in a meeting with an informer in an unfriendly bar that quickly turns sour. That sweet-natured face soon turns flinty grey as Affleck turns off the charm, and becomes a believably tough-natured young man in much the same way as his character transformed in The Assassination of Jesse James By The Coward Robert Ford (2007). Monaghan is sadly under-used, although she does provide a couple of excellent scenes as her character disagrees fundamentally with Kenzie. Mention also goes to Gregson-Williams' music, which is tastefully understated - all violins and pianos, leading emotion but not dictating it, rightfully leaving that to the script and power of the film itself.

SPOILERS FOLLOW:-------------> The ending. A friend had mentioned that the ending was superb, but not that there was a twist as such. Therefore, in my usual oblivious twist-free way of watching films, I had no idea what was coming. In fact, I thought the twist was that Remy Bressant (a superb Ed Harris) was involved, and not the final twist with Jack Doyle. The moral dilemma over what one would do faced with the situation in which Kinzie finds himself is one we might ask ourselves. It is a well-argued dilemma to which I don't readily know the answer. Kenzie's desire to see the good in people, and for his own peace of mind are thrown in his face ultimately however, as it appears that Helene cannot change. She barely looks at her recently-discovered daughter as she prepares to go out for the evening, with nary a thought as to who might babysit. The final shot as Kenzie looks at Amanda as she watches TV is contradictory. On the one hand we have the absentee mother, seemingly unperturbed by her daughter and who looks after her. On the other hand we have Amanda herself. When Kenzie asks if her doll is "Mirabelle" as the news channel emotively reported some months earlier, she replies no, "it's Annabelle". It speaks volumes. If her own mother does not know the name of her favourite doll, what else does she not know? Amanda however, is clearly in a state of high relaxation. She is stretched out, legs crossed, arms behind her head, watching TV. Regardless of how her home-life seems to an outsider, the fact is that this is her home-life, and it is here she feels most comfortable. Kenzie might be disappointed by Helene's lack of care, but he cannot, nor can we, that Amanda is home, and where she belongs and that, for better or worse, it is where she belongs. <-------- SPOILERS END.

With the raft of mega-blockbusters coming out this month, it won't be long before Gone Baby Gone is pushed from the cinemas to make way for SuperMegaIronHulkSpiderSuperHero V - see it before it is gone... (Pun avoided.)

SPOILERS--------> Was the child that Kenzie saw in the house the young boy who went missing then? I thought it looked like a girl, but if so, who was it?<-------SPOILERS END. Monaghan was underused, as I mentioned above, but aside from that, the film was excellent. I didn't see anything that leapt out and said "ugh, this is a bad bit", and I don't actively look for faults or flaws.

The Acting - 8/10: Superbly solid acting. Kudos to Ed Harris who provides a complex character to a role that could have been bland. It's also nice to see Beverly Hills Cop's John Ashton back on film - and with a badge.
The Look - 7/10: Keeping it real and gritty without resorting to stereotypes. This is an ordinary neighbourhood, and we see it peeled open to a world that doesn't understand it.
The Sound - 7/10: I mention Gregson-Williams' music above - excellent stuff.
The Story - 9/10: A solid story that draws real characters and twists them until they're nearly unrecognisable. Followable, yet still suitably complex that it doesn't insult the audience.
Success of Intent - 8/10: An engrossing thriller that is affecting and exciting. It is unexpectedly funny in places which provide high contrast to the revelatory or emotive moments.
Overall - 39/50, or:


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Post #: 33
- 18/6/2008 10:35:09 PM   


Posts: 31
Joined: 30/1/2006
A superb, thought provoking film with first rate performances by all, but particularly Casey Affleck. The Empire reviewer's verdict sums it up perfectly. Just a shame that I saw it with someone incapable of discussing it outside of the cinema!!!

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Post #: 34
Gone but not forgotten - 3/7/2008 12:40:25 AM   

Posts: 419
Joined: 17/1/2007
From: USA
Loved this movie. Excellent all the way around. Both Afflecks were robbed of Oscars as was Amy Ruan. Sobering morality tale of good people gone bad for all the right reasons. SEE IT NOW!!!!

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Post #: 35
RE: Gone but not forgotten - 4/8/2008 4:00:14 PM   


Posts: 2577
Joined: 6/9/2006
From: Sheffield
Finally caught this last night.  Loved it.  It was a really hard watch, but certainly worth it.  Great acting from Casey Affleck and it certainly means I'll mock Ben Affleck a little less than I once did. 

Certainly not a cheery film though, Jesus, I had to watch Schindlers List to lighten the mood......



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Post #: 36
RE: Good but not great - 23/8/2008 3:05:48 PM   

Posts: 1935
Joined: 30/9/2005
I thought it was complete bobbins, it's the year 2008 and we shouldn't still have pathetically weak female characters like Angie. She contributes nothing and spend the whole film being rescused, protected and defended yet we're supposed to believe she's a hard nosed private detective. Casey Affleck was alright but the whole thing felt overlong, the pacing was terrible and it should have ended about 20minutes before it did.

Overhyped and disappointing.


"Claire, that's disgusting" - Sylar, Season 3

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Post #: 37
RE: Gone Baby Gone - 23/8/2008 11:36:20 PM   

Posts: 566
Joined: 8/5/2006
From: Cheshire
I thought this film was great.  It's the second Casey Affleck performance I've enjoyed recently, the first being his Robert Ford in The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford, the last half hour of which I thought was astonishing. 

Gone Baby Gone really left me thinking - my gut reaction (what I would have done in the moral quandary they left us with) I reversed after a few minutes consideration.  Very interesting to debate - with those who have seen it!  Wouldn't want to spoil the reveal for anyone.


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Post #: 38
RE: Gone Baby Gone - 12/9/2008 9:21:16 AM   


Posts: 3478
Joined: 3/10/2005
From: Sittin' on the dock of the bay
An assured directorial debut from Ben Affleck, with a genuine sense of place and a suitably downbeat mood. Whilst the plot ultimately descends into contrived predictability, there are layers of moral ambiguity and questions about responsibility for one's actions that provide unexpected food for thought, helped by the edgy central performance of Casey Affleck. Worth seeing. (7/10)


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Post #: 39
Good But It Gets Silly. - 15/9/2008 12:59:02 PM   
joanna likes films


Posts: 972
Joined: 27/10/2007
From: Bexhill
I saw it last night and thought it was a bit too chatty and the ending was pretty bad. It starts out with a little girl snatched by unknown people, the police reckon it's a escaped crimmal who likes children but then everything gets twisted and the shocking realily hits the two young officers who are just trying to find this missing child. The pefomances are great, everyone from Morgan Freeman to Casey Affleck, who is a brilliant actor, shines. The problem is that many of the scenes could have been cut out and the twist doesn't seem to be real. The ending was pretty poor, though. In all, a good film with excellent pefomances and Ben Affleck is back from the horrors of Gigi (shudder) A well-worth 4 stars.

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Post #: 40
RE: Good But It Gets Silly. - 3/10/2008 1:53:01 PM   

Posts: 683
Joined: 5/10/2005
From: John McClane's Vest Closet
Gone Baby Gone is a promising start for Ben Affleck's directorial career, but he's not the finished article.  On the plus side he portays Boston brilliantly, it was a very good move to start off in a city he knows and loves as he's able to use it as a character itself.  Affleck correctly decided not to try and glamourise the more rundown areas, these are key in setting the tone and atmosphere via the set-piece locations and sweeping aerial shots.

Affleck (Ben) also proves he's adept at drawing tension from a scene, the exchange with Cheese in particular was, to me, a nerve shredder. 

He's clearly an actor's director, gaining respect from veterans Ed Harris and Morgan Freeman, as well as producing riveting performances from Amy Ryan and his younger brother (whom, in my opinion, gives a career-second-best performance, Robert Ford being the best).  Casey Affleck's Patrick Kenzie is perfect as a man driven by the need to do the right thing, whilst also trying to prove himself to the neighbourhood and local law enforcement.  Amy Ryan is the star though, to use a worn-out metaphor, if you were to look up 'deadbeat' in the dictionary there'd be a picture of her portayal of Helene McCready.  She's a woman who should never have been allowed to procreate - selfish, childish, ignorant and arrogant - and does not deserve the help she's given. 

Unfortunately, there are negatives but that's to be expected.  The plot twists are telegraphed so badly that he may as well have had flashing graphics of plot direction on screen, and Wile. E. Coyote-esque signs pointing to characters reading 'He's shady'. 

Michelle Monaghan's Angie feels like a character Affleck didn't know what to do with, so he left her to provide exposition, whine and provide obtuse reactions to complicated situations.

Lastly, some of Affleck's shots feel like he's tried to emulate others because he's not sure of his technical ability, so the tried-and-tested view of fast-forwarded clouds over a period of 24 hours appears and jars with the overall style of the film. 

All in all, it's a well-paced, intelligent film that will stand up to repeated viewings, if only to see Casey Affleck pistol-whip someone clearly much harder than he is, with fine performances from the cast.  Once Ben Affleck settles down into the director's chair and tunes his style, he's going to be a filmmaker to watch.


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Post #: 41
RE: Good But It Gets Silly. - 5/10/2008 1:57:42 PM   
dark crystal

Posts: 13657
Joined: 2/10/2005
From: The Deise
Having watched this last night, I must say I was not dissappointed.

Casey Affleck was great in the central role, as was Amy Ryan, playing a truly repellant character.
Great support from Ed Harris too, whose character is never what he seems.


*My only gripe would be certain gaping plotholes in the story. For instance, have any of these people never heard of child protective services?? If Amandas aunt and uncle were so concerned about her safety as revealed towards the end of the film, would it not have been more feasable to contact the relevant departments to investigate, rather than devise such a complicated snatch scenario? Surely there would have been more than enough evidence of neglect to place the child in care/with other guardians.*

Still, a wonderfully acted and directed film that stays with you long after the credits roll. It gets you wondering just what you would do in patricks situation and any film that evokes thought and debate must surely be celebrated in this day and age of film-making.
The last scene was heartbreaking and you just felt slightly hopeless for the human race... had he made the right choice at all?



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Post #: 42
RE: Good But It Gets Silly. - 20/10/2008 3:53:51 PM   


Posts: 4726
Joined: 30/9/2005
From: La Planete Des Singe
Most overrated movie of the year. pathetic, laughable final twist.


Monkeyshaver is currently watching Doctor Who on the office TV.

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Post #: 43
- 13/11/2008 10:19:00 PM   


Posts: 62
Joined: 6/10/2005
one of best thriller of 2007 .also excellent directorial debut by.
Ben Affleck

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Post #: 44
- 23/12/2008 11:40:15 AM   


Posts: 18
Joined: 31/8/2006
From: Tooting, SW London
Ben Affleck has obviously struggled in recent times. Whilst MAAAATTTT DAAAAAMMMOONN was off making not one but two successful franchises, Affleck got caught in the mire of average movies, average scripts and rather ridiculous love affairs which lost him any credibility he might have earned from the writing duties on Good Will Hunting.

However recently, rather then taking the big fanfare, make up the numbers average pics Affleck selected a fantastic project in Hollywoodland and reminded us the he can actually act. Then as if that wasn’t good enough he decided to not just prove he could act, but goddarnit he could direct as well.

Something of a pet project for Affleck, it had to be delayed due to the disappearance of Madeline McCann in Portugal. Gone Baby Gone revolves around the disappearance of a little girl not too dissimilar to Maddie. Two private detectives from the local area are drafted in by a family member, and soon uncover a web of lies, drugs, and deceit. Boston plays quite a major role in the movie, being less of a characature as it was in The Departed and displayed here with some grit and depth. Casting a born and bred Bostoner in the film was obviously a smart touch, but Affleck only had to look as far as his brother to find the perfect lead for this story. Casey has been somewhat making waves of late, a bit player in the Oceans, his star rose after Jesse James and here he is solid, and a decent watch as the P.I. on the trail of the missing girl, having some great Tete a Tetes with Ed Harris’s hard bitten Detective alongside that chunky copper with the Moustache from Beverly Hills Cop.

Of the others Michelle Monaghan is great as Afflecks partner (in both senses of the word), but Morgan Freeman seems to be a largely defunct until later in the film, with a character whos story is largely glossed over until a quite unbelieveable end. And its this end that whilst being every so slightly from left field does leave you with a compelling moral dilemma and certainly stimulates and raises a big debate. Whichever side of the fence you happen to find yourself on it can’t be denied that Big Ben deals with the matter very well, and has got a touch when dealing with the difficult subjects, promoting no one cause and allowing you to make an informed decision of your own choosing.

Thought provoking and well acted, Gone Baby Gone is certainly one of the sleeper hits of the year, and Mr Affleck continues on his road of recovery…

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Post #: 45
- 11/3/2009 4:40:01 PM   

Posts: 28
Joined: 15/2/2008
From: Ireland
First-time director + poweful acting + haunting subject matter = intense experience.

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Post #: 46
- 11/3/2009 4:40:01 PM   

Posts: 28
Joined: 15/2/2008
From: Ireland
First-time director + poweful acting + haunting subject matter = intense experience.

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Post #: 47
Afflected by this movie - 28/6/2009 9:06:51 AM   
C K Dexter Haven


Posts: 28
Joined: 31/10/2007
I went to the cinema to see this movie based on Empire's 4 star review, taking with me a great degree of trepidation simply because it was "a Ben Affleck film".
Having been blown away by what I saw in the cinema last year, with its overtones of both the Madeline McCann and Shannen Matthews cases, I subsequently bought the DVD when it was released.
Last night, the film premiered on Sky, and I watched it again.
The coarse language, the near documentary feel of the underclass streets of Boston that could be any council estate in the UK, the stellar performances on pros like John Ashton, Amy Madigan, Ed Harris and Morgan Freeman; the beleivable leads of Casey Affleck and Michelle Moynahan, a supporting cast of characters who look and act like rela people rather than actors 'playing' the partsthe unfussy direction of Ben Affleck and a heart wrenching final scene that stays with you for a long time after its finished all kept me from switching over to watch the Boss playing live at Glastonbury until this wonderful movie was over.

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Post #: 48
Excellent - 19/8/2009 12:11:03 PM   

Posts: 5610
Joined: 30/9/2005
See it now.

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Post #: 49
Monumental Filmmaking - 27/3/2010 7:54:56 AM   


Posts: 254
Joined: 12/2/2006
The final choice. Is an example of a Conservative that in my opinion really f@cked up. When the Liberal choice should of prevailed

Superb cast and Performances. Truly underrated piece of work
I can't imagine myself forgetting it..........not ever

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Post #: 50
Gone Baby Gone Review - 6/12/2012 11:33:51 PM   
the film man


Posts: 589
Joined: 13/10/2010
Ben Affleck gives a very impressive directing debut in this terrific, gripping dramatic thriller, drawing strong performances from the excellent cast.

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Post #: 51
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