Tuesday, 17 June 2008

Gone, Baby, Gone Review

Hats off to Ben Affleck. Not only has he made an intelligent, thought provoking movie, but its one that contains the least amount of good looking people in the world. Cross off the incredibly beautiful Michelle Monaghan and most of the cast, including extras and walk ons, could be nominated for the ugliest bunch of people since Mr. Leatherface started a family. One such bit part actress is so horrendous to look at she reminds me of that fat chick off of Eastenders if you beat her in a sack containing chicken grease and nails then left her in the sun for 17 hours. Now that is ugly.

Thankfully the ugliness of the actors is enhanced by the ugliness of the story. If you're British and watched any news last summer you already know the gist. Little girl goes missing thanks to careless parenting. Media storm swings into town. Not much hope for the little girl. While any similarities to those living or dead are entirely coincidental (the film wrapped way before the name McCann was part of the lexicon) and unless you're suggesting Ben and Casey were drunk in a Boston bar thinking up crazy publiclity stunts you just have to let it go.

But don't miss the film for the same reason some will go seek it out. The tale is similar but the telling is its strength. Focusing on Patrick Kenzie (Casey "Mum, Why Isn't my head the same as my brothers?" Affleck) the story has an entry point of a likeable private eye, whose face is known but whose teeth are fairly clean. As he gets in over his head Patrick takes us on a journey into some truly hellish places. The plot becomes increasingly complex yet its handled well. A minor flaw is the often used 'flashbacks to earlier in the movie'. For those not paying attention, go watch something else like Superhero Movie for the rest of us, there's really no need to tell us of events we witnessed only minutes earlier.

Like many others Ben Affleck's directorial debut is a love letter to his hometown. But instead of a Manhattan style ode to all the beauty and idiosyncrasies, ("He adored Boston he romanticized it out of all proportion") Affleck has gone for a deep, down and dirty look at the grime on his streets. And by keeping his gargatuan cranium the right side of the camera he's made the most morally complex film since Hard Candy. Even if I did spend most of the movie looking for the inevitable shadow of Afflecks forehead. Blockhead.

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