First a warning, if you’re in any way sensitive to bad things happening to children onscreen then you should really prepare yourself for this one, it’s not graphic for the most part, but there are a couple of really upsetting scenes of the aftermath of violence that I’m not sure I’m going to be able to get out of my head for a long time.
But that being said, I’m actually really glad I finally got around to seeing Gone Baby Gone, Ben Affleck’s 2007 directorial debut starring his brother Casey as a Boston private detective that helps to investigate the disappearance of a little girl whose abduction has become the sensational news story of the hour. Amy Ryan, my link to this movie, is amazing here as the girl’s mother who is a drug addict and a bigot, but still a sympathetic character who clearly cares about her daughter even when though she doesn’t show it the way the news cameras, the cops, and her more straight-laced family members do. (Also I’m really glad that her work brought her an Oscar nom, but she is barely in this movie time-wise, but I guess that doesn’t always matter.)
The movie was filmed in the streets of Dorchester where it’s set and Affleck cast a lot of locals in supporting roles, and that works really well to create a world that feels real and actually dangerous. The rest of the cast (Morgan Freeman and Ed Harris both make appearances) is crazy good and the plot twists genuinely surprised me, but this is more than a cheap thriller. It raises all sorts of moral questions about how our society reacts to sensational crimes and not to every day poverty and child neglect and unanswerable moral dilemmas about what is right for children when their parents are on the line between benignly irresponsible and harmful.
Anyway, it was worth seeing, and I’ll be grappling with it for a while, but I’m going to move on in the chain and indulge my love for Casey Affleck (I’ve already seen Ain’t Them Bodies Saints twice, I’m not even sure if its good of if I just love him and Ben Foster too much) and watch The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford, which is another one I’ve been meaning to catch up with for a while.
In this chain
Breathe In – Gone Baby Gone