Friday, 13 June 2008

Gone Baby Gone - movie review

There is nothing remotely sexy about this film - in fact if there ever was a film designed to put you off the human race in general and bringing children into it in particular, this is it - but it's so damn good I have to recommend it.

This movie's release was delayed for 6 months in the UK because of supposed similiarities to the Madelaine McCann kidnapping. It isn't actually much like that case at all - except that the child actor bears a physical resemblance. What it does bear a horrible resemblance to in its duplicitous twists and sink-estate setting is the more recent case of the "disappearance" of Shannon Matthews in Dewsbury.

If you've seen Mystic River (the books were written by the same author) you'll be familiar with the territory: dirt-poor white urban Boston, populated by the kind of people that appear on the Ricki Lake (or in the UK, Jeremy Kyle,) show. A pretty 5-yr-old child goes missing. Her mother is by almost any definition trash and seems emotionally detached from her loss. A private investigator from the local area is brought in to supplement the police efforts to find the girl. And he finds...

And I can't say much more without spoiling it. Because this is the twistiest plot I've seen in a while, as well as a crawl through the sumpwaters of modern society. Your sympathy for individual characters crashes up and down as those who look like good guys are revealed to be bad guys - and then back again. Then the film ends with the most goddawful moral dilemma for our protagonist. It's so incredibly difficult that you have to make up your own mind whether he did the right thing. The director certainly doesn't let you off by making the decision for you.

For the record, my opinion is that he made the wrong call. But I would say that, wouldn't I.

An exciting, engaging, appalling film - not your usual Hollywood fare at all. And a fine antidote for those of us disappointed by Indiana Jones.

No comments: