Gone Baby Gone

Director: Ben Affleck
Year Released: 2007
Rating: 3.0

Sly know-it-all detective (Casey Affleck) takes loyal girlfriend Michelle Monaghan around with him to investigate the disappearance of a little girl in Boston without realizing how complicated the situation really is. It's a crafty little film and intriguing discussion piece, but also strongly manipulative: at the end you're supposed to be disgusted with Younger Affleck's moral stand, but he's technically correct (who's to decide who is a proper parent and who isn't?) - the film makes you think otherwise by presenting the Real Mother (masterfully played by Amy Ryan ... god, what a mouth on her) as the Scum of the Earth with zero redeeming qualities (is there anything good she does do?) and the Morgan Freeman family as Idyllic (Older Affleck even shows the little one beaming as she runs into the loving arms of Mr. Freeman and sullen later while sitting on Real Mom's couch). The film also appears infected with the same kind of Pedohysteria that's been affecting some of today's films (Little Children being one that comes to mind), as if degenerates are living in your neighborhood (!) tying up kids and whatnot while slimy-types are downstairs wielding pistols (!) and doing coke (!). Despite its flaws, this is still an auspicious debut, with snappy dialogue and confident direction on the part of the largely vilified Older Affleck.