Gone Baby Gone (Ben Affleck, 2007)

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Antoine Doinel
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Location: Montreal, Quebec

Re: Gone Baby Gone (Ben Affleck, 2007)

#26 Post by Antoine Doinel » Wed Jul 15, 2009 10:34 pm

Finally got around to seeing this tonight, and thought it was a solid procedural that Affleck manages to open up bringing in themes of class resentment and moral outrage without, until the unfortunate final ten minutes or so, beating the audience over the head with it. Unlike other posters in the thread, I thought the film really suffered in the final ten or fifteen minutes as Affleck tries to bring the film to a moral conclusion,
where ending it earlier when Doyle is taken away by the police, and the child is taken into custody,
would've left a much better sense of moral ambiguity that the film had carefully treaded for most of its running time. That said, that Affleck manages to handle the revelations in the final half hour without the narrative leaping into bounds of unbelievability is quite a feat, because once the film is over, you can drive a truck through the plot holes.

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domino harvey
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Re: Gone Baby Gone (Ben Affleck, 2007)

#27 Post by domino harvey » Sun Jan 10, 2016 1:06 pm

Finally got around to watching this one (gee, only a few thousand more movies to go to clear out the ol' unwatched bunker) and I am astonished at how good it is-- this is legitimately one of the best debut films I've ever seen, and while I thought the Town and Argo were just okay, this is a masterpiece. And it's really a case where Affleck knew the kind of people being portrayed intimately enough to secure such naturalistic performances and observations from not just the established cast but especially the (presumably) locals. It's in many ways a film only someone like Affleck could have made. The film is classic noir, and would have placed on my modern noir list had I seen it in time, but beyond the twisty pulp aspects, the peek into another culture via noir conventions is superior to even other exemplary films of this type like Winter's Bone. And it certainly makes pap like the Fighter look even more inauthentic, which I didn't think was possible!

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Re: Gone Baby Gone (Ben Affleck, 2007)

#28 Post by therewillbeblus » Mon Oct 26, 2020 10:11 pm

This is arguably the best 'Boston' movie for reasons I see domino already mentioned. Affleck gets a lot right, but even greater are the neo-noir pleasures that feel rooted in realism beyond just the cultural honesty. This is a morality play that doesn't explain away gut-beliefs, and simply acknowledges the existence of multiple ingrained senses of spiritual ethics at odds with each other when we dig deep, signifying uniqueness but also loneliness. Call the ending conflict born from rigidity or transference or dissociation but those are all judgments Affleck sees as human nature to make but is objective enough to see through to the emotion surging in each individual that bars intimacy between them. The mechanics of the noir plot and various milieu-infiltrations are pure riveting entertainment, and here is a film that begins with a philosophical-sociological meditation and scrapes through the action to achieve thriller and dramatic balance before elliptically returning to those same questions, which Affleck understands is inevitable when playing with this kind of fire. There are no clean 'happy' endings digging so deep in physical and human contexts.

Like the rest of the world I was wow'd seeing Ben Affleck's debut in theatres and enjoyed his follow ups gradually less (though I still like a lot of The Town), but this film takes risks that aren't so obvious. Casey Affleck's early bar-exit for one has enough un-PC, un-'fair' fighting practices, and unexpected dysregulation for a largely smart, calm hero, but pulls it off as completely honorable to the character whose fiber is as complex as a real person. Casey Affleck and Michelle Monaghan were the best power detective couple back then, and still are today; and rewatching the film under the lens of our current climate on police corruption is both unsettling and affirming in the emotionality behind all men driving them, regardless of guise.

The descriptions of child abuse by way of neglect are so devastating, Affleck gets extra props for refusing to shy away from the brutal truth undoable by any grand act from these adults grappling with their consciences. Ed Harris' "I love children" line is as honest and paradoxical as Casey Affleck's final intuitively-skewed gesture. Every position is sourced in selfishness of belief as much as empathy for the child, but the risk of betting on rehabilitation vs logical safety is one of the greatest predicaments we all face throughout our lives and thank god this film asks us to delve into an extreme case to reveal our conflicting stances. The final image is as authentic as it gets, sitting alone with our choices, sober with the unknown consequences.

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