Friday, June 06, 2008

GONE BABY GONE - stunning as a mood piece, less convincing as a thriller

Get that sausage off my lawnGONE BABY GONE is a thriller about a little girl who is abducted from her home in working class Boston. Her mother is a junkie who is evidently an irresponsible mother, but her aunt and uncle are apparently good people who call in the press, the police and private detectives Patrick and Angie. The resulting investigation fails as a thriller. One can only blame Dennis Lehane's source novel and screen-writers Ben Affleck and Aaron Stockard's unwillingness to re-work the implausible denouement and character motivations. Sadly, the unconvincing resolution of the case mars the final forty minutes of an otherwise brilliant film.

The brilliance lies in Ben Affleck's ability to render a working class community without being patronising or superficial. The movie feels authentic in its sights and sounds even as the plot gets increasingly hard to swallow. Younger brother Casey delivers a deeply affecting performance as a detective trying to do the right thing; Ed Harris is charismatic as the jaded older cop; and Amy Ryan pulls of her role as the junkie mother well, though I doubt it was really one of the five best female performances of 2007. In smaller roles, Amy Madigan is superb as the pious aunt "Bea". Is all this enough to compensate for the weak plot? Yes, but it's a disappointment all the same.

GONE BABY GONE was released in the US, Canada, Spain, Panama, Russia, Argentina, Mexico, Germany, the Philippines, Colombia, Denmark, Belgium and France in 2007. It was released earlier in 2008 in Israel, Finland, Hungary, the Netherlands, Norway, Estonia, South Africa, Sweden, Venezuela, Greece, Singapore, Romania, Turkey, Portugal, Poland, Italy, Australia, and Iceland. GONE BABY GONE was meant to play London 2007 and to be released last year but was pulled because of sensitivities surrounding the abduction of Madeleine McCann. It is now on release in the UK but is also available on DVD.

No comments:

Post a Comment