Casey Affleck (right) turns in a strong performance as a private eye hunting for Amy Madigan's missing child
Casey, who was Oscar-nominated for his performance in The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford, is superb playing private detective Patrick Kenzie, who, with his partner Angie Genarro (Michelle Monaghan), is hired by a working-class husband and wife (Titus Welliver and Amy Madigan) to find their kidnapped four-year-old niece. They work alongside the police investigation led by Remy (Ed Harris, in a searing portrayal sadly diluted by his highly unconvincing hairpiece) and Doyle, a characterisation given immense appeal by Morgan Freeman. The plot is complex, and the direction does not always succeed in making the narrative entirely clear, (the well-intended flashbacks do not always help). But Gone Baby Gone is a forceful film noir which is never less than compelling and its climax and accompanying moral dilemma pack a potent dramatic punch.