topfivefilms.com Tuesday 18th January 2022
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Gone Baby Gone (15)
Directed by: Ben Affleck
Reviewed by: Paul Fonz

The last person I would expect to make one of the films of the year so far would be Ben Affleck. He's not an especially talented actor and although he has won an Oscar for screen writing, I really wouldn't expect his directorial debut to blow anyone's socks off. However, he has chosen his favourite novel as the content of his first film, he's put together a strong but understated cast and the tone he has set throughout the film is absolutely spot on for this tense and thought provoking piece.

Morgan Freeman is shocked to find that no one wants to see his "I'm a little teapot" skit
Morgan Freeman is shocked to find that no one wants to see his "I'm a little teapot" skit

The film stars Casey Affleck (brother of Ben, previously seen in the Ocean's Eleven films) as Patrick Kenzie, a small town private investigator in Boston. His speciality is finding missing people, which he can often do more effectively than the police because he knows his own community so well. He has grown up with the people he is trying to find, and knows all their friends and acquaintances too, an advantage the police don't have.

The film takes off when a four year old girl goes missing from her family home, while her single-mother (an entirely unpleasant and uncaring character) is out of the house. The girl's desperate Auntie contacts Kenzie to help track down the missing child, and he accepts despite the reservations of his girlfriend (Michelle Monaghan).

What starts out as a simple investigation and a wryly amusing film quickly turns into a darker and more tense affair. Things get complicated as the story twists and turns, taking the audience to some places that are simply beyond dark and edgy. There are parts of this film that are truly horrific, and not horrific in the way of a horror film, but horrific in the way that only real life can be.

Kenzie and his girlfriend are forced to make some tough decisions throughout, and the opinions of the characters Kenzie meets (especially Ed Harris' detective) are all challenging both to him and to the audience.

The downsides of this film are that it is a little slow to start, although this does help build the tension, and Monaghan's character is a little bit weak and seems more like a dramatic punch line by the end than an integral part of the story. However, this is not only an impressive directorial debut by anyone's standards, it is an extremely deep, challenging and thought-provoking film, that is entertaining despite its tense and harrowing nature.

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Length: 114 minutes
Certificate: 15
Official Site: http://video.movies.go.com/gonebabygone/
IMDB Link: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0452623/
Release Date: 6th June 2008

Top Five Rating: 90.0%90.0%90.0%90.0%90.0%90.0%90.0%90.0%90.0%90.0% (90.0%)
User Rating: 0.0%0.0%0.0%0.0%0.0%0.0%0.0%0.0%0.0%0.0% (0.0%)

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