Sunday, December 23, 2007

Gone Baby Gone (2007, Ben Affleck)

In the past couple of days I have had a lot of discussions with fellow film geeks and film buffs about how great of an year 2007 has turned out to be. I still have tons of titles to watch and Gone Baby Gone was one of those titles. It also happens to be further proof of what a damn good year it has been for movies.

Gone Baby Gone is a flawed film. There is no way around that. As great as Affleck's directing may be for a first time director, there are still a couple of awkward steps in terms of direction but it's a bit excusable for the most part since this is his first film and also because he does get a lot of high quality scenes through out the film.

The other main flaw the film is the pointless character of Casey Affleck's girlfriend who goes around town with him playing detective in order to solve a missing child case. I do not get why this character even exists in this film at all. I would like to say that she adds a "fish out of water" element to the film along with Affleck but she doesnt since Affleck seems to be anything but a "fish out of the water" When shes not standing around in the frame doing nothing she does nothing else except repeat lines that Affleck just said or just look dissapointed/sad/scared, Maybe she serves a greater role in the novel but I just didn't find her a necessary character to the film and story. I thought that she was more of a distraction that anything else.

Apart from these 2 big flaws, the film is quite excellent. Ben Affleck is great at directing his actors (im guessing because he happens to be an actor. Shocking, right?) and everyone turns in a very great performance. Casey Affleck in particular turns in a powerhouse and often times intense performance as a baby faced bad ass. Earlier today my friend Dan was telling me about how bad ass he was in the film and he was spot on. Casey is the man in this film. Watching him not backing down to anyone and most of the time talking shit to people are the highlights of the film.

Given the great performances from all of the cast and the mystery/thriller plot to the film - I was intrigued the whole way through. I didn't see most of the twists and turns coming and there was always more than enough interesting things going on in the screen that I felt the time just fly by.

So, Gone Baby Gone is far from a perfect film but it is a very entertaining film made even better by the stand out performance by Affleck and the rest of the cast. Ed Harris especially delivers another solid performance which suits him just perfectly and he really has a lot of fun with his role.

The other thing worth pointing out is Amy Ryan. I have to jump on the bandwagon who are calling her performance an overrated piece of work. She is in the film for a short amount of time and although she is pretty excellent, she just never knocks it out of the park for me and the amount of awards she is getting for this performance just confuses me. I mean, she's good but shes not THAT good.

Thats really all I have to say about the film. I really enjoyed it despite it's flaws. I hope Ben Affleck goes back to writing and directing because this is a very solid debut. I have yet to see Casey in Jesse James but I also hope that he continues to get high quality work because this film really showcases the amount of raw talent he has. Watch the film just to see his performance.

- ***1/2