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Thursday, 24 April 2008

Gone Baby Gone (2)

When a four year-old girl goes missing from her low-rent Boston neighbourhood, there’s a media frenzy. Gun-toting policemen stand helplessly around the empty house, without any leads to follow. It’s no wonder the missing child’s aunt turns to local private investigators Patrick Kenzie (Casey Affleck) and his lover Angie (Michelle Monaghan). They may look impossibly young, but they know these streets. They grew up here. And besides, when they meet the child’s cokehead mother (Amy Ryan) they know there’s more to the story. Reluctantly, the police chief (Morgan Freeman) and his experienced detective (Ed Harris) admit they can use the help.

Ben Affleck’s directorial debut is grimy, intriguing and soulful. Based on the novel by Denis Lehane (Mystic River), it’s a superior police procedural that’s constantly surprising, right up until the final haunting scene. Primarily concerned with the moral dilemmas of its central characters, the film creates a troublingly authentic world where children are constantly at risk – not just from random perverts or kidnappers, but from poverty, neglect and the sheer hopelessness of their rusted-out Boston suburb. And finally, here’s a detective who’s young, confused and not quite cool.

Rochelle Siemienowicz

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