Gone Baby Gone

Film Review by Paul Greenwood | 05 Jun 2008
Film title: Gone Baby Gone
Director: Ben Affleck
Starring: Casey Affleck, Ed Harris, Morgan Freeman, Michelle Monaghan
Release date: 6 Jun
Certificate: 15

With a release postponed from last year because of a need for sensitivity due to its similarities with the disappearance of Madeleine McCann, this exceptional thriller marking the directorial debut of Ben Affleck finally arrives as something approaching a masterpiece. His brother Casey stars as a private detective hired to augment the investigation into the disappearance of a little girl (with a haunting resemblance to Maddie) in a tough Boston suburb. He knows every lowlife in the neighbourhood and they'll talk to him long before the police, possibly because he's only a couple of good decisions and a bit of luck away from being a gang-banger himself. But as the seemingly simple mystery plays out, it turns into something of far greater depth and resonance, the details of which it would be unfair to even hint at here. What most impresses is the level of emotional maturity shown by Affleck the director as he piles on layer after layer of catholic guilt in his examination of the lengths to which people go to right a wrong. Answers are searched for long and hard by everyone, not least the audience, who have much asked of them and their moral compass. Not content with being a cracking mystery-thriller, it’s further enlivened by a series of vivid turns from a top-drawer cast. Amy Ryan may have earned a hugely deserved Oscar nomination as the mother of the missing girl, but it’s Casey Affleck who emerges from Gone Baby Gone as an actor of genuine standing, managing to go toe to toe with a blistering Ed Harris and a typically dignified Morgan Freeman. One of the year’s best. [Paul Greenwood]