Gone Baby Gone

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(2007) ★★★★★

BBC1: Friday 28 August, 11.35pm

“Who would take my little girl?” pleads distraught Amy Ryan, more for the benefit of the TV news crews than for the police, standing around with their arms folded. In a blue-collar Boston neighbourhood, missing-persons detective Casey Affleck noses around the dives and dark corners he grew up in. And he knows people who won’t talk to the cops. Ben Affleck’s remarkably assured directorial debut takes a story by Mystic River author Dennis Lehane and turns it into one of the two best films of 2007 (Zodiac was the other). Ben’s brother Casey (31, though he looks ten years younger) gives an outstanding performance as a young man wrestling with his conscience as this disturbing case sheds light on dark secrets with no pat answers. In an ending that pierces the heart with its haunting inevitability, Affleck learns one of life’s harshest lessons: sometimes, good deeds are very bad ideas. And they will be punished. Reliable support from veteran scene-stealers Morgan Freeman and Ed Harris ensure that everyone’s on their game in a grim melodrama with the ring of truth. The type of emotional truth consistent with human behaviour, I mean, not actual reality. Because supposed similarities to the Madeleine McCann case delayed this film’s UK release even though any echoes are entirely imaginary.

Certificate: 15
Duration: 114min

IMDB – Gone Baby Gone

TMDB – Gone Baby Gone

Rotten Tomatoes – Gone Baby Gone