Gone Baby Gone
I wanted to write about this movie while it's still somewhat fresh in my mind, though I have a feeling it's one of those that will continue to be with me for quite a while. This movie is truly heartbreaking, which I always feel is a good thing. Any movie that can make you feel something that deeply, feel anything that deeply, has got to be worth the price of admission.
This movie hit a bit close to home for me. There's the fact that it takes place in Boston, of course, and my bus, the good old 47, the same bus I take to school every day (or used to) makes a cameo twice. Granted, I get off well before it continues on to South Boston, and I am generally nowhere near the neighborhoods pictured in this movie. But all the same, I recognize those places, I recognize those people. I was a Big Sister to an eight-year-old girl for a year and a half, and while she lived in Malden and not in Dorchester, I could see the same themes reflected in this movie; the same cycles of single parenthood, of drugs and neglect.
This movie is heartbreaking for all of these reasons, and for the moral and ethical questions it raises. It presents a system that is deeply flawed without offering any solutions. I recommend this movie to everyone with the stomach for it, to anyone with the ability to see the good in the bad, because otherwise it can be quite overwhelming.
That being said, this movie is good for all the typical reasons as well. It combines all the best elements from your favorite action/adventure movies, police films, and good old fashioned, sensitive, deep-thinking dramas, and packs enough plot twists to keep you on the edge of your seat for the full 114 minutes. Casey Affleck is amazing in his role (and having already professed my undying love for Ryan Gosling I might as well admit that, fine, I'm a sucker for a pretty face, so sue me). I've loved Casey Affleck ever since 200 Cigarettes, a movie no one seems to have heard of, but which turned me on forever to guys in eyeliner, kilts, and combat boots. In Gone Baby Gone Casey proves he's not just eye candy, presenting a portrait of a man caught in the middle of something he can't get out of, for no other reason than he can't let it go. His character is stubborn and yet conflicted, with a deeply ingrained sense of absolute right and wrong. Michelle Monaghan, who plays his girlfriend, provides an interesting foil to his character, allowing the audience to identify with both sides of a contentious and highly divisive issue. Her character, Angie Gennaro, quite frankly kicks ass, unflinchingly facing situations that would have me peeing my pants in terror, and she shoots 'em up with the best of them. And yet, at certain points in the film she reveals a side that is staunchly and beautifully feminine.
I love this film for its heart, for its accurate and gritty portrayal of real people and real places that aren't often seen in Hollywood. And I particularly love it for the very important questions it raises. I was left questioning the nature of morality and the existence of an absolute right and wrong, and even the very idea of what constitutes a happy ending.
Have you seen it? What did you think?