While this reviewer enjoyed most of Clint Eastwood's adaptation of Dennis LaHane's previous novel, "Mystic River," the resolution behind the "mystery" felt contrived. Ben Affleck has been getting a lot of praise for his directorial debut with the film adaptation of another LaHane novel. And, while the director is certainly competent, the ending, too, feels even more contrived and very predictable.
The younger brother of Ben, Casey, stars as a private eye trying to do the right thing for everyone, the mother of a missing child, his partner/girlfriend and more, but ultimately his self-righteous attitude creates more havoc than the case he's working on, and his actions cause more harm than good. "That" aspect of the film is indeed the most interesting part of the film, and left mostly unexplored. The cast, including Ed Harris, Morgan Freeman and others, is outstanding. The film moves at a slow, deliberate pace, and for the most part, it's rewarding. However, unlike "MYSTIC RIVER," "GONE BABY GONE" doesn't offer a single knock-out scene, on the level of so many within "MYSTIC RIVER," that it's hard to imagine this one being revisited after the initial viewing.
BUENA VISTA has provided the correct 1.85:1 aspect ratio for the dvd release with 16:9 enhancement. The image offers fine detail in spite of the frequent grain, inherent within the gritty atmosphere the director is intent on, especially in outdoor scenes. Colors are solid, and even vibrant at times. Blacks and grays aren't deep enough to provide for fine detail within darker scenes. The blu-ray has a 1080p/AVC 1 transfer. Colors are notably richer on the blu-ray and blacks are much deeper, lending for better depth in frequently darker scenes. While the image isn't always stunning, there are only a few instances of it appearing flat.
BUENA VISTA provides a Dolby Digital 5.1 mix. Other than the music, ambient effects are generally subdued in the rear speakers, with most separation focused on the front. A few sequences are boosted by bass, and balance is excellent throughout. Dialogue is always intelligible, as is every nuance. The PCM 5.1 is terrific! It offers far more depth to the film's atmosphere than the standard Dolby Digital mix of the dvd. Deeper Bass and overall dynamic range really stand out and showcase the potential over dvd for great blu-ray mixes.
Some extras are included, but the best, a commentary with Director Affleck and the screenwriter, is not to be missed. Definitely one of the best commentaries of recent memory, due to Affleck's impressive honesty.
A couple of featurettes are included and deleted scenes, including an extended opening and "slightly" different ending, that actually changes nothing about the final resolution.