I posted my thoughts on my blog and they're probably too long to even try summing up here.
The shortest version possible was high on emotional impact/manipulation, with holes in the plot and execution. I'd better leave it at a B- and stop thinking about it, because when I started my post I was giving it a B+.
But the good news is, anyone who thinks I'm a tough book reviewer (which I don't happen to think myself) should probably read my opinion of GBG, because I seem to be a harsh movie critic.
Haven't seen the movie, but yesterday we had a "family hospital wait-in" and I read the whole book. I'm afraid that may mar the effect the movie will have on me, spoiling some of the surprises, but I definitely will see it to compare what they do with/to LeHane's story. It's quite dark, but his writing is so good that it elevates the total effect. Interesting to see how a movie deals with not being able to depend on beautiful expression.
I saw the movie last night. I think I'm in overall agreement with many of the points Sandra made in her blog post.
I too haven't read the books, so I can't compare them to the movie. Casey Affleck did a lot better than I expected as Patrick, but he was just too young for the role. And the movie makers must have realized that because they mention his age several times in the course of the movie. You could probably say the same about Angie, but since they didn't give her too much to do, it wasn't as obvious.
The plot wasn't the strong point by any means. For those who have read the books, how did it compare to the storyline in the book? I'm wondering if it's just that the plot worked in book form, but couldn't translate well to the screen. What I loved about the movie was the look and feel of it. The colors, even in the daylight scenes, were slightly washed out giving it almost a documentary feel. The extras and secondary actors were wonderfully cast. These were real faces and real accents (as a Boston area native, I can appreciate that). They weren't some Hollywood version of 'real people'.
Stephen Hunter, the Washington Post reviewer put it well:
"But the real star of "Gone Baby Gone" is Boston's seamier side, vividly evoked, made so real, in fact, you wouldn't want to live there but you wouldn't want to visit there, either."
Basically I liked it. I hadn't read the book either. Angie was a gaping hole at the center, not having enough to do and not being developed in any meaningful way. But I thought BA did a good job of presenting a seedy Boston and without a lot of fuss. Casey Affleck was good enough and the actress playing Helene was terrific. It made sense generally. It was scary. I will go out and read the series now. Was it as good as Mystic River? Not quite but it succeeded without being as flashy as a Eastwood movie. I would have liked to know more about the duo, I thought Ed Harris was miscast, and Morgan Freeman always plays himself. But the plot carried it despite these caveats.
I finally saw GONE BABY GONE on Sunday and I really, really enjoyed it. Like Mary and Patty have expressed, the tone/setting was beautiful and consistent. I liked Casey Affleck in the role, and since I also haven't read the Patrick-Angie series (but will remedy that soon), I had no expectations of what he should look like and be. The underdevelopment of the Angie character didn't bother me too much. It was Patrick's story, and I felt this movie did a much better job in including a more realistically depicted female character. (Just look at THE DEPARTED for a laughable peripheral female character.) Angie was simply, almost manly dressed throughout the movie, her distain for the drug-addled mother was palpable, and she had no qualms in lifting her top when the drug lord wanted to check her for a wiretap (and she was wearing a non-descript bra, like most of us women wear!). It would be great to have a movie just focussed on her travails.
The plot twists got a little ridiculous for me (would work better in a book than a novel), but I found the final shot moving and thought-provoking.
In spite of Patrick's ineptitude at times as dissected by Sandra, I feel the movie certainly does reinvigorate interest in the PI genre, and I certainly see why Bryon was so jazzed and inspired.
With SHUTTER ISLAND on its way to be a movie, I can see the DENNIS LEHANE boxed DVD collections now!