Gone Baby Gone is a neo-noir film based on a faulty premise: the notion that all women were meant to be mothers.
In this case, a child, Amanda, is spirited away from Helen McCready (Amy Ryan), her crack whore mother, and Mommy Dearest sheds tears for the cameras, when she’s not trying to score drugs or stay out until the wee hours partying and who knows what else.
And even though she claims to want her daughter back so much it hurts, she rebuffs her sister’s efforts to hire private investigators Patrick Kenzie (Casey Affleck) (presumably, our protagonist) and lover/partner Angie Gennaro (Michelle Monaghan) to pick up the slack for the local police, who haven’t been able to find the girl.
Now, to put it in a nutshell, the kid is finally given up on for dead. But then, as more information comes to light, the situation turns out to be quite different. I won’t say how, as it would be a complete spoiler.
What I will say is that Patrick ends up faced with a false dilemma. The ending of this film feels forced and almost tacked on, simply because the protagonist must be faced with a hard decision that involves wrongdoing and official corruption. I get what the filmmakers are trying to do – yes, technically the cops handle things wrong. But, seriously … so does Patrick, the high and mighty. Patrick’s actions, along with everyone else’s, seems to ignore the fact that there’s this thing called Child Protective Services. A totally crappy option, of course.
Perhaps if they’d written Helen’s character so as to be less hopelessly incompetent as a mother, I could’ve genuinely felt a dilemma was posed at the end of the movie. But as it is, it’s simply a completely unbelievable conclusion to a semi-satisfying crime drama.
And, yes, this film won a shitload of awards. I’m sure it has nothing to do with the fact that this … thing was Ben Affleck’s directorial debut and that nepotism is alive and well in Hollywood, as demonstrated by brother Casey’s ponderous performance as the private eye from the hood, who apparently has no clue about the concept of “best interests of the child”.
Frankly, watching this movie was fine until the end, at which point I wanted to throw the DVD I’d borrowed from the library into the trash.
Having said that, I can only give this one a so-so rating at best.
But, seriously … that ending pissed me off so much, it was enough to make my head explode.