Last year, between the two of us, we watched an average of 317 movies.
This year our goal is to top that by watching at least one a day.
And as an extra special torture, we've decided to write about all of them.

26 January 2008

Gone Baby Gone, dir. Ben Affleck (2007)

NIKKI says:
Unprecedented anticipation for this one. I'm a major fan of Ben Affleck, his writing, his direction, his intelligence, his sense of humour, his tattoos... so I really, really wanted this to be good. And it was more than good, it was absolutely superb. It's taken a good book, and made a great film. I'm so happy for Ben.

The story goes... Kenzie and Gennaro are hired to find a missing girl by the girl's grandmother. The girl's mother is a druggie loser who doesn't seem to want to involve herself in the search for her daughter. Everyone grieves in their own way, her equally messed up best friend tells the investigators, but it doesn't make the women appear any less uninterested. So, the search begins. Where it takes our investigators is just wrenching to watch. The lengths they go to and the decisions they are forced to make ends up having a far greater effect on them than they imagined.

Ben's done several great things here -- he's entirely removed Gennaro's snottiness and made her a sympathetic, interesting character. Michelle Monaghan's performance is delicate and intense, and she's just given the character new life. I hated Gennaro in the book -- just a typical brashy broad, and now, I can see her as a real person. Ben has carved a screenplay out of only the best bits of the book, and I felt, especially during the quarry scene, as though I was watching the very scenes I envisioned when reading the book. He also gives us a great view of Boston, with those amazing shots of really Bostonians going about their business. I am also grateful to the writers for resisting idiot references and letting us come to the necessary conclusions in our own good time.

Casey Affleck was just so good as Kenzie, holding in his emotions, squeezing them tight into himself, making those moments when he does flare up just that much more tense. Everyone was great -- so much so that Steve and I are lamenting no Oscar noms for Ed Harris, Amy Madigan, or the leads. Not to take anything away from Amy Ryan, who was nominated for her role as the mum, but she wasn't the stand-out here. Not for us, anyway. Everyone else, weirdly, was.

Loved it, loved it, loved it. Lived up to every expectation. I'm dropping it .5 for one tiny thing: Some of Kenzie's monologues felt a little bit overdone. I thought Casey did a great job with them, but something felt a bit stage-y at those points. It reminded me of Will's baby seals soliloquy in Good Will Hunting, where it worked. Still, it's a tiny point.


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