I want Ben Affleck to give up his day job, not because he’s a bad actor (he has made bad choices however) but because on the strength of Gone Baby Gone he’s got far more promise as a Director than as an Actor. A slow burning, murky noir set around a case of child abduction, Gone Baby Gone feels like a throw back to the tough talking ‘tec pictures that the smaller studios used to make by the dozen in the fifties. However in this case the line between who is good and who is bad is even more blurred – everyone is grey, just some a blacker than others. Even the three out and out villains of the piece elicit a small amount of sympathy, even if their actions are horrific.
Casey Affleck reinforces his claim to being one of the best actors currently doing the rounds and the supporting cast lists like a character actors dream, everyone has at least one juicy piece of dialogue to get there teeth around. It isn’t rushed, but neither is it glacial. You do have to watch it however, clues are presented from the opening frame and the initial voice-over becomes more and more significant as the film progresses. Along with There Will Be Blood, this is the most densely plotted film for a long time.
On the strength of this, Affleck (Ben) would appear to have a fine future as a director. It’s a similar, unhurried style to that which Eastwood has developed. It’s not without problems at times (a reliance on overhead helicopter shots at times pulls us out of the action) but it does mark him as being someone who’s sprung a major surprise on us.