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Gone Baby Gone
DVD disk
02.15.2008 By: Quigles
Gone Baby Gone order
Director:
Ben Affleck

Actors:
Casey Affleck
Michelle Monaghan
Morgan Freeman

Rating:
Movie:
Extras:
Overall:

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WHAT'S IT ABOUT?
When a child goes missing, a Boston detective and his partner/girlfriend learn the case isn't as straightforward as it seems.
IS IT A GOOD MOVIE?
As easy a target as Ben Affleck is to mock, his directorial debut (which he also co-wrote the adapted screenplay for) goes a long way to prove his future may be better suited behind the camera than in front, with the actor showing more talent and maturity as a filmmaker than most can hope for after directing even ten movies. Most notable is his sense for authenticity, using it to populate the background with actual people from the streets of Boston as opposed to extras who look better suited for Calvin Klein ads, as we so often see.

Ben Affeck isn't the only one who deserves props for his work on GONE BABY GONE though, as his brother Casey proves himself equally worthy of praise for his knockout lead performance as the detective hired to assist in finding the missing child. Between this and THE ASSASSINATION OF JESSE JAMES, Casey Affleck has quickly shown that he's even more capable a leading man than a background character, which is what he's normally been reduced to. Veteran actors Morgan Freeman and Ed Harris are also top notch, giving their seemingly cliché roles exactly the dramatic punch needed just as soon as the story calls for it. And then of course, there's the much-praised performance of Amy Ryan, playing the despicable druggy mother with an unexpected sense of vulnerability.

This impressive ensemble cast helps carry GONE BABY GONE as it goes through the motions, delivering everything you'd expect from a gritty crime thriller. It's intriguing enough, albeit a little too overly familiar. But it's the final third of the film that elevates it to another level. You learn that the movie isn't so much about the mystery behind the kidnapping as it is why that choice was made, and if the ends justify the means. It's refreshing to find a movie that's actually willing to challenge its audience, asking moral questions for which there is no right answer. You may not agree with the decision that Casey Affleck's character makes in the end, but the film presents a very assured character arc that validates his reasoning. That doesn't make his choice the correct one, however, and the subtle effectiveness of the film's final lingering shot is sure to leave a sour taste in some viewers mouths. Very powerful stuff.
THE EXTRAS
Not a whole lot, disappointingly (but also expectedly, seeing as how the movie did poorly at the box office).

Audio Commentary (with co-writer/director Ben Affleck and co-writer Aaron Stockard): A quiet but deeply interesting track with Ben Affleck commenting on his direction with open honesty and plenty of attention spent on the film's source material.

Deleted Scenes (17:00 - with optional commentary by co-writer/director Ben Affleck and co-writer Aaron Stockard): There are six scenes, with the most attention paid to on the "thought-provoking" (as the DVD describes it) extended ending. Ignore the sensationalized packaging; it's nothing special.

Going Home: Behind The Scenes With Ben Affleck (7:06): A short making of featurette focusing on Ben Affleck directing the film and working in his hometown of Boston.

Capturing Authenticity: Casting Gone Baby Gone (8:57): Similar to the previous featurette, this making of focuses on exactly what the title implies.

There are also a few Previews.
FINAL DIAGNOSIS
Unlike so many other "twist ending" movies in existence, the revelation at the end of GONE BABY GONE isn't meant to pull the rug out from under you; it's meant to make you think. So if you're the type of person that likes discussing movies in depth after you've seen them, prepare to leave this film with a hell of a lot to talk about.
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