His best decision comes early. By adapting novelist Dennis Lehane's Boston-based thriller, Affleck commits to material that fits him like a glove. Affleck adores his hometown -- warts and all -- and Gone becomes as much an ode to the city as Lehane intended.
The Gone plot details a bleak search for a kidnapped child. The little girl's family hires private eyes Patrick Kenzie (Casey Affleck) and Angie Gennaro (Michelle Monaghan) to augment the official investigation. As the couple digs around, John Toll's cinematography emphasizes the city's grimy underbelly and Lehane's story gets progressively dirtier the deeper we go.
Recognizable cast members come prepared. Morgan Freeman gives a restrained turn as Jack Doyle, the police captain who still aches after losing his own little girl. An impassioned Ed Harris joins John Ashton as the cops assigned to the case. And Gone marks another step in the maturation of Casey as a leading man.
But brother Ben's casting goes beyond the support staff nailing their accents (though most do). The actors embody that standoffish, underdog mindset that many Bostonians cling to with pride. You get the impression that Affleck recruited actors for characters named Cheese, Big Dave, and Skinny Ray in actual Boston watering holes, and the men went right back to their bar stools when filming wrapped for the day.
Ben's style as a director appears to be a conscientious lack of one. He sidesteps attention-seeking camera techniques that could overshadow his riveting screenplay (he shares credit with Aaron Stockard). With wise choices and more than a little casting help, Ben competently directs the barebones Baby to its bitter end and delivers a taut and dangerous adaptation that adds his own blend of local flavor to Lehane's novel.
Baby you're gonna miss that plane.
Run time: 114 mins
In Theaters: Friday 19th October 2007
Box Office USA: $20.3M
Box Office Worldwide: $34.2M
Distributed by: Miramax
Production compaines: Miramax Films, LivePlanet, Ladd Company, The
Contactmusic.com: 4 / 5
Rotten Tomatoes: 94%
Fresh: 163 Rotten: 10
IMDB: 7.7 / 10
Director: Ben Affleck
Producer: David Crockett, Alan Ladd Jr, Dan Rissner
Screenwriter: Ben Affleck, Aaron Stockard
Starring: Casey Affleck as Patrick Kenzie, Michelle Monaghan as Angie Gennaro, Morgan Freeman as Jack Doyle, Ed Harris as Remy Bressant, John Ashton as Nick Poole, Amy Ryan as Helene McCready, Amy Madigan as Beatrice McCready, Titus Welliver as Lionel McCready, Michael K. Williams as Devin, Edi Gathegi as Cheese, Mark Margolis as Leon Trett, Madeline O'Brien as Amanda McCready, Slaine (George Carroll) as Bubba, Trudi Goodman as Roberta Trett, Matthew Maher as Corwin Earle
Also starring: Ben Affleck
As with his Formula One documentary Senna, filmmaker Asaf Kapadia cleverly uses archival footage to...
This declining franchise really needed a jolt to the head, but the producers disappointingly opt...
Resisting the temptation to capitalise on the camp value of these characters, Channing Tatum and...
Wacky enough to make us smile but never laugh out loud, this screwball comedy harks...
A relentless onslaught of violent action, this movie is notable mainly because there's a woman...
First-time feature filmmaker John Maclean takes a strikingly original approach to the Western, creating a...
Despite this being a film about Sherlock Holmes, the fact that it's not much of...
Both shameless and shamelessly entertaining, this relentlessly boyish movie carries on exactly as the TV...