Gone Baby Gone

Rated NR

There’s a lot to like in this directorial debut from hack-actor Ben Affleck. Star Casey Affleck is impressive as a blue-collar private detective, and the supporting cast is successfully real-world, looking, sounding and acting like the sort of people you’d meet in a lower-class white neighborhood. The dialogue is mostly excellent, too, especially when the leads aren’t speaking: The real-people types get real-people dialogue, but the inappropriately beautiful Michelle Monaghan, who plays Affleck’s partner and girlfriend, is given a few speechifying moments. The worst of the film comes from Morgan Freeman, who is so typecast in his all-knowing uncle role that he’s starting to seem like a programmable Morgan Freeman robot. The story concerns a kidnapping and drug deal gone wrong (I would like to go on the record, once again, as noting that most drug deals do not go wrong, and just once, I’d like to see Hollywood put aside its anti-drug bias and show a drug deal gone right), but it takes a bad turn by trying to get all twisty. You’ll guess the secret surprise ending about 90 minutes before the reveal, which is a downer, but most of the film holds up well, and if you can ignore Morgan Freeman, there are great performances from Amy Ryan, Amy Madigan and Ed Harris to carry you through.

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