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Ben Affleck
Casey Affleck, Michelle Monaghan, Morgan Freeman, Ed Harris, John Ashton, Amy Ryan, Amy Madigan, Titus Welliver
Writing Credits:
Ben Affleck, Aaron Stockard

Two Boston area detectives investigate a little girl's kidnapping, which ultimately turns into a crisis both professionally and personally.

Box Office:
$19 million.
Opening Weekend
$5.501 million on 1713 screens.
Domestic Gross
$20.300 million.

Rated R

Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1
English Uncompressed 5.1
English Dolby Digital 5.1
French Dolby Digital 5.1
Spanish Dolby Digital 5.1
Supplements Subtitles:

Runtime: 114 min.
Price: $14.99
Release Date: 2/12/2008

• Audio Commentary with Writer/Director Ben Affleck and Writer Aaron Stockard
• “Going Home: Behind the Scenes with Ben Affleck” Featurette
• “Capturing Authenticity: Casting Gone Baby Gone” Featurette
• Six Deleted Scenes with Optional Commentary
• Sneak Peeks


Panasonic TC-P60VT60 60-Inch 1080p 600Hz 3D Smart Plasma HDTV; Sony STR-DG1200 7.1 Channel Receiver; Panasonic DMP-BD60K Blu-Ray Player using HDMI outputs; Michael Green Revolution Cinema 6i Speakers (all five); Kenwood 1050SW 150-watt Subwoofer.


Gone Baby Gone [Blu-Ray] (2007)

Reviewed by Colin Jacobson (April 26, 2016)

Though his acting career often subjected him to jeers, Ben Affleck earned a lot of respect for his directorial debut, 2007’s Gone Baby Gone. Set in Boston, four-year-old Amanda McCready goes missing, and her relatives hire low-rent private detectives Patrick Kenzie (Casey Affleck) and Angie Gennaro (Michelle Monaghan) to help find her. This is out of their league, but they need the work, so they take the job.

As they dig into the case, they butt heads with Boston Police Captain Jack Doyle (Morgan Freeman) and get resistance from the local cops. They also learn about the seedy life led by Amanda’s mother Helene (Amy Ryan) and how these factors complicate matters. We follow the ins and outs of this sticky case as the movie progresses.

Given his fame, Ben Affleck’s move to the director’s chair set him up for more scrutiny than the average novice filmmaker would experience. To his credit, he held up pretty well. Gone didn’t reveal a fully mature director, but it showed us someone with a fairly good grip on the reins.

Most first-time filmmakers would want to make a huge splash with all sorts of flash and pomp. Happily, Affleck avoids those pitfalls. He creates a generally measured flick that avoids gimmicks or showy cinematic techniques intended to dazzle with empty pizzazz. Affleck gives the film a gritty tone but never puts on airs or goes out of his way to impress us. He makes a movie with heart and darkness as well as a refreshing lack of pretensions.

There’s an honesty to much of Gone that I really like. The film takes on a decidedly gritty feel, especially during the first act, as it involves us in a variety of seedy worlds.

However, Affleck doesn’t revel in the ugliness. Many filmmakers would give the flick an almost gleeful sense of nastiness, but Affleck presents things in a matter of fact manner that works well for the material. He doesn’t accentuate the nastiness; he just shows it and lets us decide for ourselves.

In this sort of film, we’re accustomed to seeing the protagonists come in and save the day. Normally the police would be morons and the outsider detectives would show them up at every turn and crack the case.

That never happens here. Yes, Patrick takes the lead and demonstrates his intelligence as the flick progresses, but he never turns into a supercop sort of character. Again, this goes back to the film’s inherent honesty.

That factor extends to plot points. Gone takes a fairly major twist about halfway through, and it throws out more curveballs as it goes. You may see some of these coming, but the tale doesn’t telegraph them.

It also doesn’t present simple answers. The movie comes with an uneasy sense of morality and it lacks simple concepts of right or wrong. There’s a constant battle to decide what’s the appropriate thing to do, and it never tells us what to think.

An excellent cast supports things well. Ryan got an Oscar nomination for her small but pivotal role as the kidnapped girl’s mother; she does a ton with her brief screen time and makes an enormous impression.

Casey Affleck grounds the material with a strong but unassuming turn, and solid professionals like Freeman, John Ashton, Ed Harris and Amy Madigan add power as well. Ben Affleck clearly called in some favors to get this cast, and they were worth the effort.

By no means would I call Gone Baby Gone a great film, especially since it falls apart a little during its third act. Some of the subtlety goes AWOL, and plot twists become a bit too convenient and conventional. Nonetheless, the movie succeeds much more than it falters, and it creates a genuinely compelling and thought-provoking effort.

The Disc Grades: Picture B/ Audio B/ Bonus B-

Gone Baby Gone appears in an aspect ratio of approximately 1.85:1 on this Blu-ray Disc. Though never quite excellent, the transfer consistently looked good.

No problems with sharpness emerged. I noticed virtually no softness throughout the film, as it always came across as nicely tight and concise. I also saw no jagged edges or shimmering but I saw a hint of edge enhancement. Source flaws were absent, but grain tended to be a bit heavy.

Like most modern thrillers, Gone went with a moderately subdued palette that tended to focus on ambers and teals. Within its parameters, the colors appeared accurate and full. Blacks were fairly deep and dark, and shadows usually appeared clear, though a few exceptions occurred; sometimes low-light scenes were a bit dense. Overall, this was a “B” transfer.

Similar thoughts greeted the good but unexceptional Uncompressed PCM 5.1 soundtrack of Gone Baby Gone. Don’t expect a lot of fireworks from the soundfield. Much of the movie stayed with general ambience, though it opened up at times. For example, gunshots during the quarry sequence used the five channels well. Music also showed nice stereo imaging, but the mix usually remained restrained.

Across the board, audio quality was solid. Music sounded full and dynamic, with clean highs and good lows; some scenes with rap boasted particularly full bass. Effects were concise and accurate, while speech was natural and easily intelligible. Outside of a couple of shouted lines, no edginess occurred. The audio served the movie appropriately.

How did the Blu-ray compare to the original DVD? Audio sounded a bit warmer and fuller, while visuals showed stronger delineation and clarity. I suspect the Blu-ray came from the same transfer as the DVD but the format’s strengths made it a superior presentation.

The Blu-ray offers the same extras as the DVD, and we begin with an audio commentary from writer/director Ben Affleck and writer Aaron Stockard. Both sit together for this running, screen-specific track. They discuss adapting the novel and related script/story challenges, cast and performances, locations and set design, visuals and shooting techniques, music, and a few other production subjects.

During his commentaries as an actor, Affleck excelled. He always proved to be funny and refreshing. In the director’s role here, however, he turns less loquacious and also less interesting.

Oh, don’t get me wrong; he and Stockard offer a reasonably good look at the film’s creation. However, the track never becomes especially intriguing. It sags at times and lacks the spark that would make it something special ala Affleck’s prior commentaries. It still merits a listen, but temper expectations accordingly.

Two featurettes follow. Going Home: Behind the Scenes with Ben Affleck lasts seven minutes, three seconds and presents the standard mix of movie clips, shots from the set and interviews. We get notes from Affleck, Stockard, author Dennis Lehane, producer Sean Bailey, and actors Morgan Freeman, Casey Affleck, Michelle Monaghan, and Ed Harris. “Home” looks at the story and its adaptation, Affleck’s move to the director’s chair, shooting in Boston, and the flick’s themes. “Home” is pretty typical promotional material. It occasionally delves just a little deeper, but not in a significant way. It remains fairly forgettable.

The eight-minute, 57-second Capturing Authenticity: Casting Gone Baby Gone offers notes from Ben Affleck, Casey Affleck, Bailey, Monaghan, Freeman, actors Amy Ryan, ad John Ashton, and some extras. As expected, “Authenticity” looks at the actors and their performances. It reminds me a lot of “Home”, as it provides a few decent details but fails to stand out as anything memorable or especially informative.

Six Six Deleted Scenes run a total of 17 minutes, five seconds. These include “Extended Opening” (8:20), “On the Porch” (1:13), “After the Bar Fight” (1:49), “Having Kids” (0:57), “Quarry Jump” (1:01) and “Extended Ending” (3:45). Many of the scenes expand on the relationship between Patrick and Angie, and we also see them on the job before they get the kidnapping case. These are moderately interesting but ultimately superfluous, as they tell us little we don’t already figure out from the final cut. The longer “Ending” just adds some minor moments, so don’t expect anything substantially different.

We can watch these with or without commentary from Affleck and Stockard. We get some thoughts about the sequences and why they didn’t make the film. Like the main commentary, we hear decent details here but don’t find great insights.

The disc opens with ads for No Country for Old Men, Dan in Real Life and Becoming Jane. No trailer for Gone appears here.

Slam him as an actor if you’d like, but Ben Affleck shows plenty of talent as a filmmaker. Gone Baby Gone occasionally slips, but it usually provides a rich, involving tale that doesn’t tell the audience what to think. The Blu-ray presents pretty positive picture and audio along with a decent set of extras. This deep, thoughtful flick deserves your attention.

To rate this film visit original review of GONE BABY GONE

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