Favorite Film Friday: Gone Baby Gone

After private investigator Patrick Kenzie is contacted by the worried relatives of a missing girl, he finds himself involved with the seedy and dangerous parts of Boston. As the case gets more and more complex, he fights to find the truth, find the girl, and keep his moral sanity.

I love Boston movies. The Departed. Good Will Hunting. Mystic River. The Town.  They’re all quality flicks, and this one stands among the greatest ever made. The graphic and brutal glimpse of the dark side of Boston crime is poignant and haunting. This mystery unfolds as the two private investigators Angie and Patrick (Michelle Monaghan and Casey Affleck) must work alongside two Boston police officers (Ed Harris and John Ashton) in order to find the missing child. The impact of the case haunts the two groups who must deal with the ramifications of their choices. As they travel deeper and deeper into the case, they find out more than they expect and must grapple with difficult ethical choices that affect them both personally.

This is an amazingly human movie. Everyone represented has such deep emotional background and character that it feels visceral and heartbreaking. Most of the people filmed as extras are local Boston people and not professional actors. The characters feel so grounded and real throughout the entirety of the film, that it really draws you in. Some scenes are so disturbing and emotionally traumatic that this film definitely won’t be a hit with all viewers, but I commend it’s unflinching take on very hard and taboo subject matter. The ending alone is worth the emotional roller coaster this film puts you through. It presents a unique ethical dilemma that forces the viewer to make a choice at the same time Patrick Kenzie has to make it, and the decision will split audiences.

It always astounded me that this movie wasn’t up for more Oscars. The only nomination was for Amy Ryan as best supporting actress. Still the performances of Morgan Freeman, Casey Affleck, and Ed Harris are so incredible that it’s a shame they didn’t get a nomination.

This movie is not for the faint of heart. It handles extremely emotional material and has some truly devastating scenes. It presents a gripping mystery that never lets go, constantly offering new surprises and twists throughout the film. Truly emotionally problematic, the final scenes will leave you questioning what makes something ethically right, the situation or the basic act? Divisive and thought provoking this is one of the most well thought out, well executed, and well acted crime dramas of all time. With each character fully realized, fully fleshed out, and made truly three-dimensional, this is a human drama that takes an unabashed look at the darker side of humanity and the toll it takes on the people exposed to it.

Amy’s Recommendation: 10/10

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