Saturday, August 9, 2008

GONE BABY GONE (Ben Affleck, 2007, USA) Ben Affleck should stick to directing because he shows considerable promise behind the camera though his writing is rather stilted and formulaic. I haven’t read the source novel but the plot is implausible and weak; it weaves a fiction that is only interested in taking us to the final moral dilemma. The dialogue is street smart and tough while Affleck’s tight framing lends us a voyeuristic and intimate portrait of the characters and settings. I could suspend my disbelief for the first hour though a private detective would never be allowed an all access pass to a police investigation! The final hour degenerates into a typical Hollywood crapfest that stretches believability beyond reason and brings us to the final confrontation and moral choice. But it’s no choice at all. The movie wants to be TOUCH OF EVIL and ask the difficult questions about justice and fairness but falls extremely short. The scene when Patrick and the two detectives raid the crack house is a standard Hollywood convention; it would NEVER HAPPEN as presented. And Patrick would have been charged with 1st Degree Murder…even child-molesters have equal protection under the Constitution. If the Captain was so concerned about the child’s welfare there are other means to pursue custody though we all know Children & Youth Services is a far from perfect option. But it’s a more likely choice than stealing drug money, mass murder, and trying to explain to your friends and family how you suddenly “adopted” a little girl (who just happens to look like the child that was missing a few months ago…Hmmmm). Casey Affleck’s vacant expressions and sleepy eyes played well for this character and I was impressed with his performance; that and the direction/cinematography keep this movie from being a total waste of celluloid. (C)

No comments: