We lost two of the 24 hours we’d gained from not seeing any of this weekend’s movie offerings by watching the DVD of Ben Affleck’s atmospheric adaptation of the Dennis Lehane thriller, Gone Baby Gone. But we gave up those two hours without regret, getting a kick, as we did, from the vicarious squalor. Casey Affleck, last seen capping Brad Pitt, plays a squeaky Bostonian private investigator who looks into the abduction of a four-year-old girl by a kidnapper who, he learns to his surprise, “works for cheese.”
It turns out, “Cheese” is a nickname for some Haitian drug guy. So, Casey goes to talk to Cheese and… Oh. You wonder why the caption is in French? Well, I’ll tell you: Even though we curse like longshoremen around this place, we mostly curse like the better sort of longshoremen who utter such imprecations as “By Goom!” and “The devil you say!” But Gone Baby Gone‘s dialogue, a non-stop pummelling of our ears by impolite verbal intensifiers, left us slaphappy. Nice Work would spare you that onslaught — the linguistic equivalent of being trampled by a stampede of middle schoolers — and so we have changed it from English, which was about 90% Sout’ Bahst’n Swayer Wuds, to French, which makes anything sound elegant.
Okay. So Casey goes to talk to Cheese and Cheese. naturally, swayers at him in, but at least he swayers in Haitian. He tells Casey something really vulgar which comes out in French like this:
There, that’s not so bad, is it? Anyhow, vie does indeed become dure for the hapless Cheese. Before too long, le Fromage est mort.
Casey eventually figures out the crime and the culprits and all that. Good thing, too, because I sure couldn’t. I was led astray by all the red herrings, and not just because they were your usual red herrings. No, they were m***** f***, g*****, s*** h****, Skippy P*****t B****r, m***, l****, f****, f*****!, c****, d****, j******, c*** a***** red herrings. I couldn’t think straight with all the word shrapnel zinging past my ears.
Warning: A sizable number of citizens get bloodily murdered before the credits roll. Mostly none that you’d miss much, but, still… Double Warning: To represent the depravity of the characters, many of the scenes in Gone Baby Gone are set in stupendously squalid interiors. Makes a fellow glance about at his own housekeeping a little apprehensively.
Nice Work gives Gone Baby Gone three stahs. Following the letter “F.”