Friday, September 07, 2007

Gone, Baby, Gone

The early reviews for the Ben Affleck-directed adaptation of Dennis Lehane's novel are in, and they're good. Like, really good.

GONE, BABY, GONE is my favorite of Lehane's Kenzie/Gennaro series. Good pacing, characters and dialogue like his previous books, but this one had a sense of menace and sadness that more than hinted at what Lehane would accomplish with MYSTIC RIVER. And while I wasn't so much worried by Ben's directorial abilities (I do think he's a better artist than his tabloid image projects), I was very worried about the casting of his brother Casey as Patrick Kenzie. I always envisioned Kenzie, at least in GBG, as more brooding, more world-weary. Still good in a pinch for a smart-aleck remark, but he's someone who's been dragged through the old neighborhood muck for a little too long and finds the stains don't wash out like they used to. Casey Affleck has done some good work in spurts, mainly in smaller roles in "Good Will Hunting"and "Ocean's 11," but he's always been his best hamming it up with brother Ben or Scott Caan. Casting Casey felt like another Sofia Coppola, ruining a potentially good film by giving a pivotal part to a relative who couldn't act her way out of a paper bag, especially opposite Al Pacino and Andy Garcia (or in Casey's case, Morgan Freeman and Ed Harris).

Ben grew up in Boston, a city whose whose character is a crucial element of Lehane's books, so I think he'll give the film a sense of authenticity an outsider might not. I don't know much about Michelle Monaghan as Angie Gennaro, other than that she did a good job in a thankless role in "Mission Impossible 3." Based on the trailer, it looks like Harris and Freeman are at the top of their games, which already sets the bar fantastically high. But Casey is the 'X' factor. And if he's up to the challenge, which it appears he may be, this has the potential to be a terrific movie.

4 Comments:

Blogger Alison Kent said...

Oooh, and Michael K. Williams showed up there briefly. LOVE him in The Wire.

2:12 PM  
Blogger Graham Powell said...

If you haven't seen Monaghan in KISS KISS BANG BANG you must RUN out and get that movie. One of the most entertaining movies I've seen in a long time, and she was both A) good and B) smokin' hot.

3:25 PM  
Blogger The Home Office said...

I agree with you, I though Gone Baby Gone was the best of the Kedzie/Gennaro series, and I liked them all. Let's hope the movie does the book justice. It would be a shame to see Morgan Freeman AND Ed Harris go to waste.

8:10 PM  
Blogger MysterLynch said...

Harris is supposed to be fantastic.

The film got a standing ovation at Deauville. The Hollywood Reporter (which is the review that Reuters printed) is calling one of the best crime films of the decade.

Variety also liked it, but did not gush as much.

I have talked to three people that saw it at the festival and all of them enjoyed it. Two loved it and the other liked it, but was not blown away.

It sounds like Casey did a damn fine job.

8:54 PM  

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