Ben Affleck’s directorial debut tackles the tough issue of child abduction in Boston and asks the question: what is home?
Gone Baby Gone stars Casey Affleck and Michelle Monaghan as private investigators, hired by a distraught couple to look for their young niece, who has seemingly been taken. The police chief, played by Morgan Freeman, rejects the interference of the investigators – he too lost a child and feels passionately about the work police do in solving these cases. Affleck never attempts to sugar-coat this scenario, he has written a screenplay which reflects the gritty underworld of Boston, shows the terror in drug abuse, and presents the depraved side of society – paedophiles, corrupt police and one couple trying to work their way through it all.
Without giving away spoilers, this film never takes the direction you expect it to. I found myself being constantly surprised by the decisions characters made, and it left plenty of questions regarding what morality means to different people. Gone Baby Gone had me thinking after the film had finished about whether we as human beings are products of our surroundings, and if we had the opportunity to grow up somewhere else, would we be different? The film is purely worth seeing on this basis to reflect on. But Affleck’s great, subtle direction, the entire cast’s performances (including some Boston residents Affleck hired to have parts) and an authentic snapshot of humanity in the most vicious of situations makes this a film worthy of reflection and study.