Gone, Baby, Gone

This is one I avoided when it was in the multiplex but once it was out on DVD, free, from the Library...what the heck?

Actually, Ben Affleck is probably a better director than he is an actor. He was always nice looking and seemed to land good roles ("Pearl Harbor" and "Hollywoodland"), but his career never really took off. This time, he opted to direct his younger (shorter) brother Casey (the "Ocean's" franchise and "The Assassination of Jesse James..."), and the results are laudable. Affleck and Aaron Stockard adapted a novel by the same name, written by Dennis Lehane ("Mystic River"). Remember, Affleck has already garnered one Academy Award for his writing..."Good Will Hunting."

This movie takes place in Boston, Affleck's home town. He has managed to show a grittier side of Boston than the one we have come to expect from a tourist's perspective, so that in itself is interesting. The movie is about a man and his girlfriend, played by the aforementioned Casey and Michelle Monaghan ("The Bourne Supremacy" and"Kiss Kiss Bang Bang") who are semi-professional detective/skip tracers.

They are contacted by the grandmother of a little girl who has disap- peared. Grandma, played by Amy Madigan ("The Laramie Project" and "Pollack") wants their help tracking down the child. Her daughter, the little girl's mother, is played by Academy Award nominee Amy Ryan ("Dan in Real Life" and "Before the Devil Knows You're Dead") ...she didn't win...

As the couple reluctantly takes the case, they immediately encounter local law enforcement officials, Morgan Freeman ("The Bucket List" and "Million-Dollar Baby") and Ed Harris ("Pollack" and "A History of Violence"), who, under duress, share some of the details they have uncovered so far. Because this is Affleck's neighborhood, it turns out he has uncovered far more than the police department, so they begin working together.

The more our would-be detectives become acquainted with the missing girl's mother, the more they realize that she is a loser, a druggie, a neglectful parent and only marginally concerned about her daughter's whereabouts. On the other hand, they become more and more focused on...hopefully...finding the girl still alive.

This movie has a couple of violent (guns) scenes, interesting characters, and a resulting conundrum where we find ourselves, along with our hero, pondering the ultimate issue of right and wrong. I found this movie to be involving, interesting and extremely well acted. (With that cast, how could it NOT be?!)