Gone Baby Gone (2007)
Dir: Ben Affleck
Ben Affleck had a great night last night, his latest film as director ‘Argo’ took 3 BAFTA awards including the prizes for best director and best film. So, today I decided to see his first feature film as director.
‘Gone Baby Gone’ is a very sombre drama about a child abduction, in which Casey Affleck (Ben’s brother) plays a private investigator who is hired by the missing girl’s aunt to work a different angle in trying to find her, but his investigation leads him down some paths he didn’t expect and into situations that are hard to handle.
Child abduction is never a light topic, in film or in real-life. A few months ago in a town not far from where I live, a five-year-old girl was taken from outside her house, and to date, she’s not been seen again and it’s sadly believed she was murdered. I saw how the local community and people from the surrounding areas including where I live all rallied round, holding vigils, offering support to the family, and helping with the extensive search. That sort of response was also shown a little in this film, the ‘media circus’ surrounding the family and the presence of the community on the streets, and so the point is clearly made that with those investigations the stakes are very high, but the chances of a positive outcome diminish rapidly within hours.
As a dramatic film, the situation is a very complex one that is interwoven between many characters, somewhat film-noir in the way it looks and how it unfolds. There are some quite tough moments, and some strong words are exchanged, so this is not a film for everyone, not an easy watch on any level.
Ben Affleck also worked on the screenplay as well as directed, and there is real skill in this both with how the story is told and in the way it’s all shown, with very little in the way of wasted shots or filling time. I hope that his other work is just as well made, but hopefully with subject matter that’s easier to watch.