Cast: Casey Affleck (Patrick Kenzie), Michelle Monaghan (Angie), Ed Harris (Remy Bressant), Morgan Freeman (Jack Doyle), Amy Ryan (Helene McCready)
Director: Ben Affleck (Argo, The Town)
Plot: Without giving anything away, the film is about a missing child and the search to find her. The city of Boston and its outlying towns and communities play a huge part as well.
Why you should watch it: This film, released in 2007, is based on the novel by Dennis Lehane. It is a thriller in the classic sense. You are never sure who to root for, what the motives are, or how exactly you want the end to play out. It's a very satisfying movie, and what makes it so is the interesting plot, the actors, and the deft way in which Ben Affleck directs it.
The plot revolves around the case of a missing 4-year old girl. She was seemingly taken from her apartment while the mother was visiting a friend. The family of the missing girl hires Casey Affleck's Patrick to help find her. They choose him because he's from the neighborhood and talk to folks who don't trust the police. The film weaves an intricate storyline thick with multi-layered points of intrigue. You are never really sure which way the wind is blowing, which is imperative in a thriller. The plot is driven by a great cast and characters who you simultaneously root for and against.
Casey Affleck, an underrated actor in his own right, anchors the cast. His character Patrick is buoyed by his girlfriend Angie, played by Michelle Monaghan. They are neighborhood folks who operate a private investigator business. Amy Ryan expertly plays the missing girl's mother, Helene. She is a despicable, disgusting, awful mother, bent on getting her own rocks off instead of being a mom. Morgan Freeman, Ed Harris, and John Ashton (Beverly Hills Cop!) play the detectives investigating the case. They are not so righteous as to not bend the rules to make them fit the situation. The real winners here are the locals cast by Ben Affleck to augment the cast. They are of Boston and its outskirts, and their working class dialect and actions lend incredibly to the tone and mood of the film. My favorites are Boston rapper Slaine, who plays Bubba, and the bartender Big Dave, played by William Lee. His scene is one of the more intense scenes in the film. These supporting actors are just as important to driving the story as the main cast. The real winner in all this is Ben Affleck, who really shows his directing chops.
Affleck loves Boston, no big surprise there. In his films the city is as much a character as the actual characters. However the movie never reaches the level of ridiculous parody (such as Tawwwmy from Quinzee). He has shown himself to be a very good director, one with a handle on both his actors and the story. Some folks are put off by him, because after all he's the guy who starred in Bounce, Reindeer Games, Armageddon, Pearl Harbor, and many other bombs. I think Affleck grew up with this film. However I'll let you be the judge of that.
Check out the trailer which doesn't really do the film justice, but does enough to gain your interest. Last I saw, the film was on IFC or Sundance or one of those channels. Give it a look. As always, I welcome your opinions in the comments.