My Review of ‘Gone Baby Gone’ (2007)

Gone Baby Gone_Poster

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.

Gone Baby Gone2

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.

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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.

So-so

But, seriously … that ending pissed me off so much, it was enough to make my head explode.

HeadSplode2

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4 Responses to My Review of ‘Gone Baby Gone’ (2007)

  1. Joe Stroud says:

    “Gone baby gone” does not sound like a movie I would want to watch either…though I must give you credit for the “making your head explode” 🙂 You do have a nice way of making one laugh with your reviews, thank you!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks, Joe! 🙂 It was a movie suspenseful enough to you keep you watching, only to end up feeling like you’d sat through a shaggy dog story. One that ended on a horribly bad joke.

      I’m glad you like the head ‘splode. It really sums up my feelings well. 🙂

      Like

  2. lala says:

    I liked this movie. I find myself to be a little like Patrick sometimes. I do have a personal moral code that I set for myself. A moral code is not one that you can break or bend, whether the source is personal or dogmatic (he’s always referring to his conversations with his priest)..Though I may be like him, I would never have made the decisions he made.

    SPOILERS:

    Following his logic of keeping a family together and doing the “right” thing.
    In the last scenes of the movie it is clear that another child’s life is in his hands. I felt that that point was taken wayyyy to lightly.”It’s her mother” is a bs reason. He did not assess the situation at all. Perhaps he would want to check up on her “crack whore” mother and see where her head is at before making his decision. The fact that he didn’t made me not care so much about his final decision because, at that point, it was clear to me he was a dumbass. He never said anything close to, “I’ll check up on her mom and help their family as best as I can considering this child’s future weighs in the balance” OR “if the mom f*cks up I’ll personally find a her a good home with a good family that can take care of her who has more probable years on this earth.” I think that would have been a more powerful ending. Instead, he just waves his hand and “voila” back to mom. The mom’s drug habit, narcissism, and juvenility will solve itself. He’s done because he made the decision about another person’s life and makes no plans or even thinks about making plans to help that person grow any further (reminds me of anti-abortion folks who never advocate for education, healthcare/childcare as well). It’s funny because at the end, when the mom was looking for a babysitter on the way out of the door, I thought “this motherf- better be babysitting for the next 15 years because any good or bad thing that falls on that girls head… it’s on him. Ok Im done..the lack of inquiry and responsibility he took for making a decision like that really bothered me…other than that the film was an A+.

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    • Sounds like you’ve done a lot of thinking about this. For my own part, this wasn’t a film that provoked a lot of thought. But then, your idea of an A+ movie may differ substantially from mine.

      If you’d like to see a great example of what I’d consider an A+ movie, I’d suggest seeing “Bridge of Spies”. Now, there’s an examination of moral complexity with a plot so suspenseful, I could barely look away from the screen. FWIW! 🙂

      Like

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