Writer: Cammy ZulkifliWriter Ratings:Overall: Cast: Plot: Effects:
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"The Brave One" (2007), "Mystic River" (2003)
"Gone Baby Gone" is set in Boston, in a neighbourhood where the future of its residents can only be one of two things - you abide by the law or you end up a criminal. This hard-hitting flick, helmed by first-time director Ben Affleck, is both about social morals and professional ethics, influenced by the darker truths behind the town's fragile environment.
Ben Affleck has ceremoniously gathered a blend of animosity and compassion into this film, taking you down a path less traveled and lifting veils on dilemmas so personal, it hurts. This detective drama is based on a novel by Dennis Lehane, who also wrote "Mystic River", and stars Ben's brother Casey as Patrick Kenzie, a street-wise private investigator.
Having lived in the same town all his life, Patrick is known for his proximity with the town's most questionable and notorious crooks, who all happened to be his schoolmates at one time or another. Unlike most of his neighbourhood pals, 31-year-old Patrick has chosen a life in the virtuous lane, with a beautiful live-in girlfriend Angie (Michelle Monaghan), who's also his professional partner.
When a possible child kidnapping case turns up, both Patrick and Angie are hired by the victim's relatives to help find her. They put trust in the fact that Patrick doesn't wear a badge and that his street connections will fish out information that the cops may not. The deeper Patrick and Angie probe into the case, the more twisted the case becomes, gradually leading them to question their beliefs of what is right and wrong.
The story is highly thought provoking, putting into question what constitutes 'the right thing to do'. Would killing a monstrous paedophile to save future victims be the right thing to do? Would you plant evidence against someone to save another person's future? And would you do the wrong thing to make a right?
Casey Affleck's baby-faced demeanor fools you as the witty but wise Boston native Patrick Kenzie. Flawlessly portrayed, Affleck carries Patrick with concealed ruggedness and a tinge of delicacy. Michelle Monaghan's character Angie, on other hand, fulfils another side of Patrick as his calm voice of reason.
As the story progresses, Patrick and Angie have to learn to co-operate with the police, led by head of Crimes Against Children Unit Captain Jack Doyle (Morgan Freeman), who agrees to let them tag along with investigating officer Remy Bressant (Ed Harris). Both being seasoned actors, Freeman and Harris are gripping with their performances, completing a package that's bound to make you gasp.
For a directorial debut, director Ben Affleck is raw in experience but still manages to wow you with a no holds barred look at life within a repressed society - where not all the good guys are lawful, and even the bad guys can be righteous.Cinema Online, 23 September 2008