Here’s a fun dilemma! I don’t want to break embargo on Ben Affleck’s directorial debut, Gone, Baby, Gone (saw it a couple of weeks ago for long-lead), but I also don’t want to run a link to its just-released theatrical trailer without offering this caveat: what Miramax is selling ain’t the movie by a long shot.
Then again, as was the case earlier today with Lust, Caution, I don’t know how you sell what makes this particular film special. Based on the novel by Dennis Lehane*, Gone, Baby, Gone is the fourth entry in the five-part Patrick Kenzie-Angie Gennaro series, which has been aggressively recommended to me over and over again by the same folks who turned me on to the great Lawrence Block. For fans of these books, I understand that this out-of-sequence gambit takes some getting used to, as Affleck and co-writer Aaron Stockard have clearly fashioned Gone, Baby, Gone as a standalone film. They’ve also opted for a somewhat younger, decidedly less intimidating Kenzie in Casey Affleck – and before you level charges of nepotism, I’d highly recommend that you see the movie (and the long delayed The Assassination of Jesse James, which supposedly boasts a revelatory performance from the younger Affleck). Casey does seem awfully fresh-faced for the private detective racket, but Stockard and big bro cleverly address this in the writing. The relative youth of Kenzie and Gennaro (played by the equally innocent Michelle Monaghan) helps to throw off the genre’s standard dynamic, which is already a tad off-kilter due to Lehane’s formula-tweaking plot. The result is something you haven’t quite seen before. Some people might be thrown by it; others will embrace it. I’m firmly in the latter camp.
Unfortunately, you’ve seen this trailer before. Without the rest of the movie fresh in your memory, maybe it’ll work for you. I hope so. Miramax is gonna have to finesse this one.
I should shut up, but I do want to add that it’s great to see John Ashton in a substantial film role for the first time in forever.
*The Mystic River guy.