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Movie Review: Gone Baby Gone

Alternate Title: Black, White and Gray

Story: A child's abduction turns out not to be as black and white as it first seems. Plot twists and moral dilemmas run rampant in this crime - thriller - mystery adeptly directed by first timer, Ben Affleck. The film is based on the novel by Dennis Lehane (Mystic River) with a screenplay by Ben Affleck and Aaron Stockard.

Private investigators Patrick Kenzie and Angie Gennaro are hired to augment the police in the home abduction of a child. The moral conundrums start early on as we discover the child's mother is a vile woman, drug user and surely not a poster Mom for the PTA. To tell more of the story would reveal too much. Suffice it to say that the many plot twists involve conspiracies, marginal cops, shootings and drugs. This is NOT the Boston featured at the Cheers bar.

The good news is that Ben Affleck probably has a richer career as a director than actor ahead of him. The production values, cinematography, angles and mood of the film are first rate. The final third of the film comes at you fast and furious with some eye rolling revelations. Though unbelievable at times, it is still fine entertainment nd worth your time.

Acting: Casey Affleck as Kenzie shines in his first film as a leading man. He plays his conflicted part well and Ben Affleck was right to use his brother in his first film. Michelle Monaghan as the other private detective is fine, if underused. She reminded me of the old pre-Cruise, Katie Holmes. Amy Ryan was the wayward mother is terrific. Morgan Freeman, Ed Harris, John Ashton, Amy Madigan, Titus Welliver, Madeline O'Brien and Edi Gathegi round out a fine cast.

Predilection: None

Critters: Cats

Food: Steak in a restaurant (The Chart House) and Peanuts in a bar.

Sex Spectrum: There is no sex shown but there is lots of talk about pedophiles. Ugh!

Soundtrack: Music by Harry Gregson-Williams was on target and added to the mood.

Opening Titles: Simple small type as we focus in on the crime scene and family.

Visual Art: Oscar winning cinematographer John Toll delivers a powerful visual statement throughout the film.

Theater Audience: Fairly crowded for midweek.

Sappy Factor: There is nothing sappy about child abductions.

Quirky Meter: 0

Squirm Scale: The topic makes my skin crawl.

Drift Factor: I paid attention throughout but did look at my watch after 90 minutes.

Predictability Level: After the plot twists started to barrel at me I gave up predicting.

Tissue Usage: 0

Oscar Worthy: No

Big Screen or Rental: I always prefer the big screen but the same effect would be gotten from the big screen or the small screen.

Length: Under two hours