Lets get philosophical for a moment. Imagine that you are the President of the United States. Somewhere in the world exists a leader who is tyrannical; he rules with an iron fist, funds terrorist groups, hoards the national treasury for his own use, and basically causes political unrest for the nations around him. As the leader of the most powerful nation on earth, you have been shouldered with deciding how best to handle this individual. (Yes, this sounds like Saddam and Iraq but it really is just an example.) Everyone agrees that this leader must be brought down but no one can agree how. On the one hand you could institute further sanctions and control mechanisms as defined by international law. Unfortunately, history has shown that this approach generally hurts the citizens more than the tyrant. On the other hand you could easily force the despot out through military action. Unfortunately, this approach defies international law and will likely result in American casualties. What do you do? Neither solution is right or wrong and both have distinct positive and negative aspects. This is a classic example of a moral dilemma. Throughout history many great leaders have been faced with similar decisions. Moral dilemmas and how they were handled have changed the course of mankind, making for intriguing study by historians since a clear choice was never apparent. In many cases, hindsight highlights the correct path, but this is of little help to the decision maker when caught in the throes of a situation. Important men in high places, however, do not control the domain of moral dilemmas. Most people, at one time or another, are faced with a difficult situation where a correct decision remains foggy. In this weeks feature, Gone Baby Gone, we have a film literally layered with moral dilemmas. Without clear answers, the viewer is forced on multiple occasions to ask themselves what they would do in a similar situation. This small attribute gives the film a wonderful boost and makes for an intense viewing experience. Immediate kudos must be given to Ben Affleck in his latest role as a rising phoenix. Climbing out from under the label of tabloid party boy with failed relationships, abysmal films, and a stint in rehab, Mr. Affleck has found true love, fathered a child, given an Oscar-worthy performance in Hollywoodland, and now written and directed an absolute gem of a motion picture. Its rare to see such a dramatic 180-degree turn in Hollywood, but Affleck has done just that. In the vein of Mystic River, Gone Baby Gone travels to the boroughs of the Boston area to tell the heart-wrenching story of a young girls abduction. Afflecks younger brother, Casey, plays the role of newbie investigator hired to help the family locate their child. Normally nepotism results in inferior work, but in the case of the Affleck brothers it is nothing short of magic. This film shined for several reasons, but first and foremost, it was incredibly well written. Adapted from a novel by Dennis Lehane, the elder Affleck did a superb job crafting this material for the big screen (part of the success was utilizing his inherent knowledge of Boston and its unique personality and verbal cadence). While the elder Affleck scripted intense, biting dialogue, the younger Affleck delivered it as only an actual Bostonian could. If there was ever a case of the right people making the right film, this is it. Gone Baby Gone also did a wonderful job at keeping the viewer off balance. Just when you thought things were winding down to an unsatisfactory conclusion, suddenly everything unravels and the story bursts into a new direction. While the subject of child abduction is never easy to swallow, the handling of this picture and its unique storyline deserves great praise. Check this one out if you loved Mystic River as both pictures echo Bostons urban jungle and the unique people that live there. Gone Baby Gone is easily one of the years best films and a drama well worth seeing. A riveting A- for Gone Baby Gone. Video Pick Of The Week:
War of the Worlds Whether you opt for the classic or the modern day adaptation, War of the Worlds is a must-see film during the Halloween season. The film depicts what might happen if an alien force invaded the Earth. The classic 1953 version, while obviously dated in the areas of special effects, is still a gripping portrayal of an alien attack and well worth watching. The modern 2005 version, directed by Steven Spielberg and starring Tom Cruise, is easily one of the best science fiction remakes in history. Either way, you cant lose. Check out one or the other (or both) because Halloween wouldnt be as much fun without a scary movie.