Dennis Lehane is a very well regarded thriller writer, but I’ve never read a Lehane novel to the end, though I did start one of his early books about private eyes Kenzie and Genarro once and ran out of either time or enthusiasm. Clearly, I need to give him another try, since he is the author of the best-seller on which the movie Gone Baby Gone is based, and the more I watched, the more this film grew on me.
Kenzie and Genarro are played respectively by Casey Affleck (whose brother Ben is the director) and an intelligent, appealing actress I haven’t heard of previously, called Michelle Monaghan. Two first rate performances here. The pair are called in by the aunt of young girl who has been abducted from her feckless mother.
The police team hunting the girl is headed by Morgan Freeman, doing his usual impressive job as Captain Jack Doyle, whose own child was murdered some time back. Kenzie is deeply familiar with blue-collar Boston, and is persuaded (though Genarro is dubious) that his knowledge of the tough area where the girl lived, and its people, may help to solve the case.
But things go pear-shaped. The girl’s mother has been messing about with drug dealers, and eventually a plan to recover the girl falls apart, and it seems she has drowned in a water-filled quarry. But Kenzie can’t let the case go, and eventually his enquiries lead him to the truth. This is the point at which the film really takes off, posing a moral dilemma which divides Kenzie from Genarro, and threatens to destroy their relationship. Very thought-provoking. I believe I would have made the same choice that Kenzie did - but with many qualms.