Ben Affleck proves that Gone Baby Gone, his sensational 2007 directorial debut, wasn’t a fluke with this equally impressive — if a tad more conventionally plotted — follow-up. Based on an acclaimed crime novel by Chuck Hogan, the film examines what happens when Beantown bank robber Doug MacRay (Affleck, very good here) falls for his former hostage (Rebecca Hall). (Conveniently, she doesn’t recognize him from the heist because the thieves were all wearing masks.) With the FBI (led by a steely Jon Hamm of Mad Men) breathing down his neck and hotheaded criminal cohort Jem (The Hurt Locker’s Jeremy Renner) itching to pull the trigger on any potential witnesses — including his buddy’s new girlfriend — Doug’s decision to go straight runs into some perilous roadblocks. Once again shooting on location in some of Boston’s least-touristy working-class neighborhoods, Affleck brings a startling degree of verisimilitude and white-knuckle intensity to pulp-fiction material that might have seemed like just another standard-issue Hollywood cops-and-robbers flick in the hands of a lesser director. The performances — including an unrecognizable Blake Lively from Gossip Girl and Oscar winner Chris Cooper as Doug’s convict dad — are beyond reproach.
Director: Ben Affleck
Writer: Peter Craig, Ben Affleck, Aaron Stockard and Chuck Hogan
Producer: Graham King and Basil Iwanyk
Cast: Ben Affleck, Rebecca Hall, Jon Hamm, Jeremy Renner, Blake Lively, Titus Welliver, Pete Postlethwaite and Chris Cooper