Ben Affleck’s directorial debut “Gone Baby Gone” truly shows he’s a force to be reckoned with in Hollywood, and that he should be sitting behind that camera more often. The film is an excellent example of how someone like Affleck can reinvent themselves by doing something completely unexpected.
The film is the story of Casey Affleck’s character Patrick Kenzie. Patrick is a private investigator hired to find a missing girl in Boston named Amanda McCready. The girl’s mother Helene is played by Amy Ryan, who gives one of the best performances of the year. Some of the characters in the film were played by non-actor Bostonians and until I came home and looked the movie up, I assumed that she was just a great discovery. Amy Ryan has been winning all sorts of critics awards lately and she deserves everything she can get. Her portrayal of Helene McCready is one of the most realistic and unbelievable performances in recent film history. Last week I said Cate Blanchett could win the award for best supporting actress. I hadn’t heard any praise for Amy Ryan’s work and now that she’s won awards across the board I can’t help but think Blanchett has a serious opponent in the race.
Again, Ben Affleck should also be praised for his work behind the camera. In recent years there have been a few films that were quite critically acclaimed and took place in Boston: “Mystic River” and “The Departed.” Naturally, those films are susceptible to comparison with “Gone Baby Gone.” After seeing this film, I can honestly say that the other two films are very weak in comparison to this masterpiece. Both of those films have too much of a Hollywood feel to them while GBG feels like a real, rough Boston film. The use of little-known actors and Ben Affleck’s amazing eye for direction gives this film a realistic edge that is not often seen in theaters.