Last night, I saw Gone Baby Gone, the new Boston crime drama directed by Ben Affleck. The plot, based upon the novel by Mystic River author Dennis Lehane, begins with the kidnapping of a little girl from a grimy Dorchester neighborhood. Although the police are working on the case, the aunt and uncle of the missing girl hire local private investigators Patrick Kenzie and Angela Gennaro to "augment the investigation" using their neighborhood contacts. The story becomes more complicated when they learn that missing girl's mother, a low-life cokehead brilliantly portrayed by Amy Ryan, recently ripped off a Haitian gang leader. I don't want to give away more of the plot, but it does take Patrick and Angela on a ride through the seediest parts of Boston and culminates in an ethical dilemma that will leave you pondering.
Overall, it's a captivating and gritty film. Although Gone Baby Gone lacks the smoothness and flash of The Departed and Mystic River, it exceeds both of those films in subtlety and authenticity. Affleck knew what he was doing when he cast his younger brother Casey in the lead role and chose locals like Jill Quigg for smaller parts. Most of the movie was filmed locally, including a scene set around the corner from my apartment at Murphy's Law. You can even see my house in the background of a rooftop scene. Unfortunately for the film, it was released the same weekend in which the Red Sox were playing in the World Series, so the opening didn't generate much buzz locally. However, it did receive excellent reviews (Boston Globe review here) and may end up with a couple of Oscar nominations.