Gone Baby Gone

Gone Baby Gone is a 2007 American crime thriller film directed by Ben Affleck, in his feature-length directorial debut. Affleck co-wrote the screenplay with Aaron Stockard based on the 1998 novel Gone, Baby, Gone by Dennis Lehane. The film stars Casey Affleck and Michelle Monaghan as two private investigators hunting for a young girl abducted from her single mother's apartment in the Boston neighborhood of Dorchester. The supporting cast includes Morgan Freeman, Ed Harris, and Amy Ryan. It was the final film to be released by The Ladd Company before its closure.

Released on October 19, 2007, the film was well-received by critics and grossed $34 million worldwide against its $19 million budget. Ben Affleck was lauded for his directing debut by many critics, while Amy Ryan received an Oscar nomination for Best Supporting Actress.

In a run-down neighborhood in Dorchester, Boston, four year-old Amanda McCready has been abducted along with her favorite doll, Mirabelle. P.I. Patrick Kenzie and his partner and girlfriend Angie Gennaro witness a televised plea for Amanda's return by her mother, Helene, amid a media frenzy. The girl's aunt Bea and uncle Lionel hire them to find Amanda.

Using his connections in the Boston crime underground, Patrick discovers that Helene and her boyfriend "Skinny Ray" were drug mules for a local Haitian drug lord named Cheese, and had recently stolen $130,000 from him. After discovering Ray has been murdered by Cheese's men, Patrick and Angie join detectives Remy Bressant and his partner Nick Poole in investigating the case. They believe that Cheese may have taken Amanda. Helene tearfully makes Patrick promise to her that he will bring Amanda home alive.

Patrick meets with Cheese and tries to negotiate the return of Cheese's stolen money in exchange for Amanda, but Cheese initially denies any involvement in the girl's disappearance. Police Captain Jack Doyle later reads Patrick a telephone transcript of Cheese calling into the station to set up an exchange for Amanda. The exchange at a nearby quarry is botched after a gunfight breaks out, and Cheese is killed. It is believed that Amanda fell in the quarry's pond and drowned; her doll is retrieved from the water and returned to Helene. Doyle, whose own daughter was killed years before, goes into early retirement following public outcry over the mishap.

Two months later, a seven-year-old boy is abducted in Everett, and Patrick receives information that he was taken by Corwin Earle, a known child molester, who is living with two married career criminals and cocaine addicts. After entering the addicts' house and finding evidence of the abducted boy, Patrick returns with Remy and Nick late at night to rescue him. Before they enter the house, the addicted woman shoots her husband dead and then fatally wounds Nick before chasing Patrick into Corwin's room, where he finds the dead child; enraged, he kills Corwin as Remy arrives and kills the woman with a shotgun. Meeting the next night outside, Remy, half-drunk but trying to alleviate Patrick's guilt over the killing, confides that he once planted evidence on an abusive husband to help the man's wife and son escape, with the help of "Skinny Ray." Patrick later remembers that Remy had first told him he didn't know Ray.

Nick dies of his injuries. After his funeral, Patrick speaks to a police officer named Devin. He tells Devin that Remy lied to him about knowing Skinny Ray and something big must be going on. Devin tells him that Remy, who came up from the Louisiana police force years ago with Doyle, had known about Cheese's stolen money before Cheese even knew it was missing. Patrick goads Lionel into meeting him in a bar and pieces together that Lionel and Remy had conspired to stage a fake kidnapping in order to take the drug money for themselves and to teach Helene a lesson, which Lionel finally admits. At that point, Remy (trying to cover for his earlier mistake) enters the bar wearing a mask, staging a robbery to interrupt their conversation. Patrick realizes that Remy plans to kill him and Lionel to keep them quiet and "announces" loudly to the bar that Remy kidnapped Amanda. Remy hesitates and the bartender shoots him twice in the back. Remy flees, pursued by Patrick to the rooftop of a nearby building, where he dies from his wounds.

Patrick is questioned by the police about Remy's death and learns that the police never had a phone transcript like the one that Doyle had read to him prior to the botched exchange. Patrick then realizes Doyle is probably part of this. He and Angie then drive to Doyle's home, where they find Amanda alive and well and Doyle about to leave. Doyle admits he was part of the kidnapping all along and helped set up the fake exchange to frame Cheese and throw Patrick off the scent. Patrick threatens to call the authorities, but Doyle tries to convince him that Amanda is better off living with him than with her neglectful mother and to do the right thing. Patrick discusses the choice with Angie; she believes Amanda is happy and safe with Doyle, and says she will hate Patrick if he returns Amanda to her mother.

The police are then seen driving up to Doyle's house; Patrick decided to call the police to collect Amanda, as he cannot bring himself to break his promise to Helene and believes she belongs with her mother, regardless of Helene's parenting. Doyle and Lionel are arrested, and Patrick and Angie break up.

Patrick later visits Helene and Amanda as Helene is about to leave for a date. She and the place look better taken care of, giving the impression that she is at least trying to clean up her act. However, she hadn't made plans for a babysitter, so Patrick volunteers to watch her. Patrick asks Amanda about her doll Mirabelle, only to have Amanda inform him that her doll's name is Annabelle, implying that Helene did not even know the name of her daughter's favorite toy and that this may not end happily ever after.

Filming took place on site in Boston (mainly South Boston) and extras were often local passers-by. Other locations used include the former Quincy Quarries.[2]

Released on October 19, 2007, the film grossed $20.3 million in the U.S. and Canada and $14.3 million in other territories, for a worldwide total of $34.6 million against its $19 million budget.[1]

The UK release was originally set for December 28, 2007, but was pushed back to June 6, 2008, due to the disappearance of Madeleine McCann.[3] The Malaysian release was originally set for September 20, 2007, but was postponed to March 27, 2008, due to the .

Review aggregator Rotten Tomatoes reports that 94% of 181 critics gave the film positive reviews, with an average rating of 7.75/10. The website's critics consensus reads: "Ben Affleck proves his directing credentials in this gripping dramatic thriller, drawing strong performances from the excellent cast and bringing working-class Boston to the screen."[4] Metacritic assigned the film an average score of 72 out of 100, based on 34 critics, indicating "generally favorable reviews".[5]

Peter Travers of Rolling Stone raved "The brothers Affleck both emerge triumphant in this mesmerizing thriller,"[6] while the New York Post called it "a twisty, morally ambiguous and satisfying neo-noir."[7] Patrick Radden Keefe criticized the film for overstating the case in an otherwise laudable attempt to "capture Boston in all its sordid glory," writing that "The result is not so much what Mean Streets did for New York as what Deliverance did for Appalachia."[8]

Ryan's performance in particular was singled out for acclaim, resulting in wins for the and , as well as nominations for the Academy Award, Golden Globe Award, and Screen Actors Guild Award.

In an issue of Vrij Nederland, Dutch critic and writer Arnon Grunberg called the book good, but the movie better, saying "Gone Baby Gone might not be a perfect film, but it's definitely an important one, if only to raise the question: 'What is home?'"[9]

The film appeared on 65 critics' top ten lists of the best films of 2007.[10][11]

The film was released on DVD and Blu-ray on February 12, 2008. Extras include an audio commentary by Ben Affleck and Aaron Stockard, deleted scenes, and two behind-the-scenes featurettes. The film was released on DVD and Blu-ray in Australia on September 10, 2008, in which the ending depicts Monaghan's character imploring Affleck's character to return the child to her biological mother.