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My Night Reviews: The Dark Knight & Gone Baby Gone

Gone Baby Gone

This film is Ben Affleck's directing debut, and in my opinion he has set the bar unusually high for future first-time directors. To be honest, I am not a huge fan of Mr Affleck as an actor; I don't think he is a bad actor, it's just that his performances don't generally envoke an emotional response in me...so I wasn't really expecting much from him as a director. Cut to me sitting in front of my tv with egg on my face. Big time. We're talking a flaming Spanish frittata here. But back to the film.
Within this beautifully constructed piece of work are many sub-plots, most of which I won't go into because I don't want to spoil it for those of you who haven't yet seen it.

The tagline "Everyone wants the truth...Until they find it." should be enough to tell you that things are not what they seem in this flick. But basically, the story centres around Patrick (Casey Affleck) who is a private investigator in Boston. When a young girl is abducted, Patrick and his girlfriend/investigative partner(Michelle Monaghan) are hired by the family to assist the police in finding her. Along the way we discover that what is on Patrick's side is not his incredible detective skills, but rather his contacts in Boston's shady underworld. And just when you think the case has been closed, the film then goes in a completely different direction...and the destination it eventually arrives at is one that will leave you with questions that you may not have the answers to.

There are so many reasons why I loved this film: One being that not for a second do the actors slip into self-indulgent emotional performances. This is truly the sign of a talented director who trusts his actors. They delivered what is the pretty much the Holy Grail of performing: The Truth. Every actor and director in the film and theatre world attempts to get there, but very few do.

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I also have to pay special attention to the wonderful Michelle Monaghan as Angie. Her character was so subtle that unless you were concentrating on her, it was easy to miss just how incredible she was. Angie was headstrong and forthright in an almost silent way. In fact, her performance was so facinating that I found myself leaning forward each time she was on screen. She is a character who is opinionated but expresses them in a way that lets us actually hear her words and the importance of them, instead of us thinking "wow, she's really angry/sad/scared/brave" etc.
In conclusion, this film will definitely make you think long and hard about your views on quite a few things. Ben Affleck doesn't make it clear what he believes; rather, he has created a piece that is somewhat grey...and it's up to us to decide whether we ourselves dwell in the black, or the white. A must see.

The Dark Knight

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I deliberately waited to see this film because I wanted to see if it was worth all the hype surrounding it. My verdict? When there is someone as brilliant as Heath Ledger in the film, everything is going to look just that little bit better...no matter how dodgy it is.

For starters, in the history of Batman movies, there has never been a well-written, well-developed female lead. Their dialogue has always been glib and totally lacking in depth...So with such crappy material to work with, is anyone really surprised that even a quirky and charismatic Maggie Gylenhall falls flat?

When you also consider the amateurish make up (and the rule of thumb in film make up is, that if anyone comments on it, you've done a truly feral job), and also the equally garish lighting, and also a director who clearly has NO IDEA how to direct female actors, is it any wonder that Ms Gylanhall has been panned by critics? Anyway, even at her worst Maggie is 100 times better than unsymmetrical whinging Katie Holmes.

my-night-reviews-the-dark-knight-gone-baby-gone

I also have to pay special attention to the wonderful Michelle Monaghan as Angie. Her character was so subtle that unless you were concentrating on her, it was easy to miss just how incredible she was.

Angie was headstrong and forthright in an almost silent way. In fact, her performance was so facinating that I found myself leaning forward each time she was on screen. She is a character who is opinionated but expresses them in a way that lets us actually hear her words and the importance of them, instead of us thinking "wow, she's really angry/sad/scared/brave" etc.

In conclusion, this film will definitely make you think long and hard about your views on quite a few things. Ben Affleck doesn't make it clear what he believes; rather, he has created a piece that is somewhat grey...and it's up to us to decide whether we ourselves dwell in the black, or the white. A must see.

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© 2021 Louisa Newman

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