BOSTON - Last week, I began the countdown of the ten greatest Boston movies ever made by writing about Black Mass and Fever Pitch. This week, the list picks back up with the eighth and seventh rankings, both of which have inspired a lot of passion, albeit from different sides of the film-going spectrum.
8. Gone Baby Gone
Gone Baby Gone is set in Dorchester and it features quite a Boston pedigree behind it. The film stars Casey Affleck and Michelle Monaghan and is the directorial debut of Casey's brother, Ben Affleck. Rounding out the cast are stars like Morgan Freeman, Amy Ryan, and Ed Harris. (Ryan received an Oscar nod for Best Supporting Actress!) The 2007 thriller centers around Affleck and Monaghan's characters, private investigators, searching for a girl who was kidnapped in Dorchester. It is a harrowing, dark, and disturbing movie, but it is undoubtedly riveting. The performances are aces across the board, but Amy Ryan obviously deserves the accolades she received.
It gave fans of Ben Affleck a taste of what he was capable of behind the camera, a skill that he would hone in a movie that comes a bit later on this list. For now, Gone Baby Gone, for all its darkness, is still one of the best films ever draped against the landscape of the city.
The subject matter does not get any easier with Spotlight, Tom McCarthy's 2015 journalistic account of the "Spotlight" group at The Boston Globe. It's a true story based on that team's investigation into the child sex abuse scandal from the Catholic church in Boston. It is similarly harrowing and comes with a number of disturbing moments that illustrate the gravity of this situation, which unfolded back in 2003 at the Globe.
In terms of filmmaking, Spotlight is quite a technical achievement. McCarthy's direction and screenplay (co-written by Josh Singer) is impeccable and the film is perfectly cast. Mark Ruffalo, Michael Keaton, and Rachel McAdams star in the lead roles, but supporting turns from actors like John Slattery and Stanley Tucci also come with a great deal of merit. Notably, Spotlight also won two Oscars, including the trophy for Best Picture. It is by no means a fun watch, but it is important all the same.
Image via Wikimedia Commons