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I largely agree with John, so I’ll try to stick to the points where we disagree a little. But, ultimately, “If you’ve seen Gone Baby Gone, you probably wouldn’t be considering it for an Oscar” is accurate. I’d extend that to Supporting Actress. Nothing against Amy Ryan, but I kind of feel she’s getting credit for being a Broadway actress here. To me, while I did definitely appreciate the character, it struck me that I’d seen pretty much the same thing on Law and Order. You know, if I watched Law and Order. I will say that Ben Affleck getting a directing nomination would make me extremely happy, if only for the sheer ridiculousness of the concept. That said, I think there’s near-unanimous agreement that he’s a much more capable director than generally thought possible.

I absolutely agree with John about the characters in the movie. For the most part they were subtle and textured, features which are absolutely essential to a movie of this sort, I think. Michelle Monaghan is there to look pretty, I suppose. Which is nice and all, but her virtual lack of a purpose was rather striking, contrasted with how well-thought out most of the other characters seemed to be.

I do disagree with John about Casey Affleck’s moral dilemma. I won’t rehash it here not to avoid spoiler talk, but just because any short description of it isn’t worth the time or space. Personally, I thought it fit in rather nicely with the whole “subtlety” concept of the movie. John, had they made it a choice between a warm, loving family and a place where she’d be living in a crack den with the risk of getting hit on a regular basis, would that have improved anything for you? Because it wouldn’t for me. As it is, the kid is going to be screwed up, no matter what. But I think it is pretty clear that growing up with Morgan Freeman would mean she’s living in a nurturing environment, where living with her mom would mean she’s pretty much raising herself. And I think that’s a very interesting moral dilemma. You say there’s only one right answer, and maybe there is. But, especially from one econ guy to another, is it really the most efficient solution? I don’t think you are maximizing utility, you likely aren’t making the world a better place, and there is very strong evidence that you are making the girl worse off. To me, that’s something to think about.

Oh, and yeah, the final scene is absolutely fantastic. Along with the obvious one in Eastern Promises, one of my favorite so far.

I’d be surprised if I end up believing this movie should be nominated for anything, but I’d definitely recommend it to certain people.

December 2007
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