Boston resides in the marrow of the Afflecks. Ben Affleck directs his younger brother Casey to an arduously plaintive performance as an amateur Boston gumshoe in his adaptation of novelist Dennis Lehane's "Gone Baby Gone", a film that is so quietly accumulative in power when its collapses in morality become tangled in its web of inescapable rot, and where those who seem to have good in them always get hurt.
When 4 year-old Amanda McCready is abducted from her working-class Dorchester home, her aunt and uncle (Amy Madigan and Titus Welliver) "augment" the limp search conducted by the police when she hires local detectives Patrick Kenzie (Casey Affleck) and his girlfriend Angie Gennaro (Michelle Monaghan) to sift though the neighbourhood and extract information from its distrusting merchants and volatile proles. The elder Affleck adroitly portrays Boston's inherent tribalism and rotting facades with the duo's tortured investigations through the diseased surfaces that recede from the pale daylight into shadows and grime, and eventually through the city's underground of venality so terrible a thing to imagine that it gets under your skin and stays there.
Closer to an affecting study of unravelling communal drama than a riveting crime piece, this urban notturno draws on its mileage when the investigation into the little girl's disappearance reveals dark secrets and a trail that leads in circles, discovering more than what they sought to know about themselves. Characters like the girl's mother, a social parasite named Helene (played fiercely by a noteworthy Amy Ryan), balances and evocates the film's residual outrage and pity for its ravaged denizens. Further populated by magnificent performances from Ed Harris and Morgan Freeman as jaded cops, it lends Affleck's directorial debut a confident swagger that allows focus on the material, so unafraid of disturbing its audience, to keep patience in its mauling eruptions of nihilism.
There's both a deepness of procedurals and an authenticity of time and place in the script's constant turning of the screw, the narrative wheels churn as damaged children and ineffectual adults begin to take the stage. It just gets darker and more intense in the film's inspection of gnarled human nature, and the reasons that coerce it is at the centre of its slow-burning style, giving it an effectively sustained dramatic tension as its moral convictions become no less irreducible.
Ben Affleck's ambitious and unremittingly desolate purview of his turbulent city is never intellectualised, but instead remains meticulously modulated to the emotional resonance of Kenzie as he journeys from one stinging moral decision to another, evincing the confluence of conundrums that's entrenched into the very fibres of the people we are and aspire to be. "Gone Baby Gone" presents to us how warped and strident individual instinctive moralities can be and what the right thing truly entails in a world that remains unresponsive to the inner cries of the film's palpitating bleakness.