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GONE BABY GONE: DVD

SYNOPSIS:
When four year old Amanda McReady (Madeline O'Brien) is kidnapped in the tough Dorchester district of Boston, private investigator couple Patrick Kenzie (Casey Affleck) and Angela Gennaro (Michelle Monaghan) at first refuse the case, until the girl's aunt pleads with them to work alongside the police. Police Captain Jack Doyle (Morgan Freeman) is none too happy, but he assigns Detectives Remy Bressant (Ed Harris) and Nick Poole (John Ashton) to the case, to work with the young couple. Amanda's mother Helene (Amy Ryan) is a drug user and runner, whose theft of a large amount of drug money from drug boss Cheese (Edi Gathegi) sets off a series of dramatic events that are tied to the kidnap, and perhaps the death of the little girl. And as he learns the truth, Patrick has to make a moral decision that puts his own relationship with Angela at risk.

Review by Louise Keller:
It's what you don't chose that makes you who you are, Casey Affleck's missing persons PI says in this troubling story about conscience. Gone Baby Gone is a fascinating film in many ways. Based on Dennis Lehane's novel about the abduction of a little girl, the initial premise is reminiscent of the highly publicised, as yet (at time of writing) unsolved mystery of little Madeleine McCann, who disappeared from her bed in a Portuguese holiday resort. But that is where the similarity ends - as far as we know. The film is the first serious foray into directing by Ben Affleck (apart from a little known 1993 comedy short), who reinforces his creative talents by good storytelling and dense mood establishment. Brother Casey Affleck, who threatens to overshadow his sibling in the acting department, is impressive in this defining role as a private eye who becomes consumed professionally and personally by the case.

The first half of the film concentrates on the investigation into Amanda's (Madeline O'Brien) disappearance by Affleck's Patrick McKenzie, police chief Jack Doyle (Morgan Freeman) and investigating police officers Remy Bressant (Ed Harris) and Nick Poole (John Ashton). The truth is far from pretty as we discover troubling and unsavoury facts about the girl's drug-addicted mother Helene (Amy Ryan) and surrounding circumstances. Patrick and his partner Angie Gennaro (Michelle Monaghan) quickly show their forte is their connection with the neighbourhood locals, who are a seedy lot (whose lingo and delivery is so authentic that at times almost undecipherable). Everything about the scene feels dirty, and we become involved in the various relationships. When a second child disappears, the emotional core of the film escalates considerably. Lies, regrets and justification of taking the law into one's own hands become contentious issues as the film heads towards its third and devastating act.

Performances are all strong with Ryan daring to make Amanda's mother repulsive, Harris and Freeman anchoring heavily in the gravitas stakes and Monaghan expresses emotional chasms with economy. The topic is confronting and unsettling and Affleck's handling of this potent drama is superb. The film offers no easy solutions and the experience is riveting.

DVD special features include an audio commentary with Ben Affleck, deleted scenes, an extended ending, behind the scene footage and a look at the film's casting.

Published September 10, 2008

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CRITICAL COUNT
Favourable: 2
Unfavourable: 0
Mixed: 0

SEAN BAILEY Q & A

CASTING CLIPS
Casey Affleck
Ed Harris
Morgan Freeman

GONE BABY GONE: DVD (MA)
(US, 2007)

CAST: Casey Affleck, Michelle Monaghan, Morgan Freeman, Ed Harris, John Ashton, Amy Ryan, Amy Madigan, Titus Welliver, Michael K. Williams, Edi Gathegi, Mark Margolis

PRODUCER: Ben Affleck, Alan Ladd jr, Danton Rissner, Sean Bailey

DIRECTOR: Ben Affleck

SCRIPT: Ben Affleck, Aaron Stockard (novel by Dennis Lehane)

CINEMATOGRAPHER: John Toll

EDITOR: William Goldenberg

MUSIC: Harry Gregson-Williams

PRODUCTION DESIGN: Sharon Seymour

RUNNING TIME: 114 minutes

AUSTRALIAN DISTRIBUTOR: Walt Disney Studios

AUSTRALIAN RELEASE: April 17, 2008

SPECIAL FEATURES: Extended ending, behind the scenes footage, audio commentary with Ben Affleck, deleted scenes, casting of Gone Baby Gone

DVD DISTRIBUTOR: WDS Entertainment

DVD RELEASE: September 10, 2008







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