[image-4]Published February 14, 2008.
Gone Baby Gone
Directed by: Ben Affleck
(Alliance)

Gone Baby Gone isn’t full of yuks. So when its best line popped up I laughed---hard. As Det. Remy Bressant (Ed Harris) questions coked-out mom Helene (Oscar-nominated Amy Ryan) about her sketchy business associate, and the role said associate may have played in the kidnapping of Helene’s daughter, he points out the following: “He’s a violent, sociopathic Haitian criminal named Cheese. Either you know him or you don’t.” While my favorite films are a mix of drama and devastating one-liners, Gone Baby Gone explores sobering themes (e.g. child welfare), and tries to answer big questions (What’s the right thing? How do you know you’re doing it?) So the film can be excused for not being a laugh-riot. Gone is set in a seedy Boston borough, where protagnoist Patrick Kenzie (Casey Affleck), a PI, searches for Helene’s daughter. Virgin director Ben does a bang-up job of making Boston, and the shabby houses and bars the film’s characters frequent, feel immediate. Thank Affleck for the film’s atmosphere; thank novelist Dennis Lehane (whose tome Ben and Aaron Stockard adapted) for its moral heft. The place Patrick finds little Amanda is unexpected, making Gone Baby Gone a film that sticks with you, rather than a disposable whodunit.

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