Gone Baby Gone

Right, yeah, ok, slightly stretching credibility, this one. But this is genre, right? That final shot shoulda toldya that the TV you've got in yr livingroom transmits packaged payloads of emotional manipulation and moral dilemmas for your entertainment and edification. Right? It don't have to be real. Just relax into it!

...is my attitude to all plotting matters. But Ben Affleck does enough of the clever set-up and pay-off to earn some previously unforthcoming respect. The vaguely Catholic absolutism of the private crime-fighter comes into conflict with the institutional utilitarianism of the police department. But the Catholic thing comes back another way. At the beginning Patrick goes on about the irrevocable importance of community: you take the girl out of Dorchester, but you SHOULD NEVER take the Dorchester out of the girl. This is where she belongs.

And to its credit, the film tries to make no judgement about Patrick's rigidity on this and all issues. I get the feeling both Afflecks wanted to portray him in as noble a light as possible. But at the same time, events and context are designed to demonstrate just how misconceived his attitude is.

Good to see Michael K. Williams and Amy Ryan from The Wire fame in this film. The latter especially did wonders as the negligent drug-abusing mother. The scene in which she has to extract the promise from Patrick got pretty arch, but she managed to conjure some emotion into it. Michelle Monaghan (again) not given enough, which got rather annoying. And while Morgan Freeman was excellent in the finale, he really did ham it up something awful in the tool-up-and-get-ready scene. Casey Affleck does great, although with that raspy whine, he's really better off playing cowards or serial killers. Oh, and when Ed Harris puts on those sunglasses, you just KNOW he's up to no good. Why? Because, hello! He's Ed Harris!

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