Gone Baby Gone

When a young child goes missing, her aunt and uncle (Amy Madigan, Titus Welliver) reach out to a private investigator, Patrick (Casey Affleck), to help find her.

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This is an impeccably well plotted crime thriller which ends up being about much more than a missing person case. The girl’s mother (Amy Ryan) is an occasional drug runner, with enemies in the world of crime, and as Patrick investigates, the case comes to involve police, criminals and members of the community.

It’s most similar to Gone Girl, which is unsurprising as it’s directed by Ben Affleck who took the lead in that film and stars his brother Casey. Like Gone Girl it stretches the limits of plausibility at times, but it’s an acceptable price to pay for a twisty, turny thriller that manages to be unpredictable throughout.

The community they inhabit is well imagined and feels believable, with a diverse mix of people which doesn’t feel like your typical Hollywood town. One of the themes it addresses is social class: the alienation of the police from the community they serve which inhibits their investigatory abilities, and also the extent to which the force feel they can interfere in the lives of the more dysfunctional members of the community.

It has strong performances from the whole cast, including Affleck, who mumbles like a drunk but sounds sincere, Ed Harris as a police officer working on the case and Morgan Freeman as the police chief. It also packs a lot of story into its under two hours of running time, striking a good balance with the action, resulting in a film which at least the equal of Gone Girl.

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