Thursday, February 11, 2016

Movie Review: Gone Baby Gone (2007)

Gone Baby Gone (2007) co-written and directed by Ben Affleck

Two private detectives (Patrick played by Casey Affleck and Angie by Michelle Monaghan) who specialize in missing persons cases are hired by the aunt of a missing girl named Amanda. Her case is all over local Boston television. Amanda's mom is talking to the cameras in front of her house. The cops are working hard on the case--they even have a special division devoted to abducted children. When Patrick and Angie accept the job, they work with the cops. The PIs provide local street connections that bring more details to light. They find out the mom is a junkie with a lot of unsavory friends and associates. The film focuses on Patrick who wants to do the right thing no matter what the cost. By the end of the film, there are a lot of costs to be paid.

With this description, you'd think the movie is a police procedural with private eyes thrown into the mix. The movie is so much more. The focus becomes more obvious about half way through. The movie is about the right and wrong things characters do and the moral codes by which they live. Patrick has a strict code but makes bad decisions in the heat of the moment. Other characters follow more pragmatic or utilitarian codes, which sometimes align with Patrick's goals and sometimes not. The situation becomes more complicated and more corrupt, providing Patrick with very hard decisions to make. The movie is ambiguous enough to let viewers draw their own conclusions about what the right thing is and provides plenty of fodder for discussion afterward.

Speaking of which, there's a great discussion of the movie at A Good Story is Hard To Find podcast, which was the inspiration for me watching the movie.

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