Gone Baby Gone appears in an aspect ratio of approximately 1.85:1 on this single-sided, double-layered DVD; the image has been enhanced for 16X9 televisions. Though never quite excellent, the transfer consistently looked good.
No problems with sharpness emerged. I noticed virtually no softness throughout the film, as it always came across as nicely tight and concise. I also saw no jagged edges, but I witnessed a little shimmering and a hint of edge enhancement. Source flaws were absent, but grain tended to be fairly heavy.
Like most modern thrillers, Gone went with a moderately subdued palette. It stayed on a reasonably natural path, though, and didn’t seem overly stylized. Within its parameters, the colors appeared accurate and full. Blacks were fairly deep and dark, and shadows usually appeared clear, though a few exceptions occurred; sometimes low-light scenes were a bit dense. Overall, this was a “B” transfer.
Similar thoughts greeted the good but unexceptional Dolby Digital 5.1 soundtrack of Gone Baby Gone. Don’t expect a lot of fireworks from the soundfield. Much of the movie stayed with general ambience, though it opened up at times. For example, gunshots during the quarry sequence used the five channels well. Music also showed nice stereo imaging, but the mix usually remained restrained.
Across the board, audio quality was solid. Music sounded full and dynamic, with clean highs and good lows; some scenes with rap boasted particularly full bass. Effects were concise and accurate, while speech was natural and easily intelligible. Outside of a couple of shouted lines, no edginess occurred. The audio served the movie appropriately.
A smattering of extras fill out the disc. We begin with an audio commentary from writer/director Ben Affleck and writer Aaron Stockard. Both sit together for this running, screen-specific track. They discuss adapting the novel and related script/story challenges, cast and performances, locations and set design, visuals and shooting techniques, music, and a few other production subjects.
During his commentaries as an actor, Affleck excelled. He always proved to be funny and refreshing. In the director’s role here, however, he turns less loquacious and also less interesting. Oh, don’t get me wrong; he and Stockard offer a reasonably good look at the film’s creation. However, the track never becomes especially intriguing. It sags at times and lacks the spark that would make it something special ala Affleck’s prior commentaries. It still merits a look, but temper expectations accordingly.
Two featurettes follow. Going Home: Behind the Scenes with Ben Affleck lasts seven minutes, five seconds and presents the standard mix of movie clips, shots from the set and interviews. We get notes from Affleck, Stockard, author Dennis Lehane, producer Sean Bailey,
and actors Morgan Freeman, Casey Affleck, Michelle Monaghan, and Ed Harris. “Home” looks at the story and its adaptation, Affleck’s move to the director’s chair, shooting in Boston, and the flick’s themes. “Home” is pretty typical promotional material. It occasionally delves just a little deeper, but not in a significant way. It remains fairly forgettable.
The eight-minute and 56-second Capturing Authenticity: Casting Gone Baby Gone offers notes from Ben Affleck, Casey Affleck, Bailey, Monaghan, Freeman, actors Amy Ryan, ad John Ashton, and some extras. As expected, “Authenticity” looks at the actors and their performances. It reminds me a lot of “Home”, as it provides a few decent details but fails to stand out as anything memorable or especially informative.
Six Six Deleted Scenes run a total of 17 minutes, four seconds. These include “Extended Opening” (8:19), “On the Porch” (1:13), “After the Bar Fight” (1:49), “Having Kids” (0:56), “Quarry Jump” (1:00) and “Extended Ending” (3:44). Many of the scenes expand on the relationship between Patrick and Angie, and we also see them on the job before they get the kidnapping case. These are moderately interesting but ultimately superfluous, as they tell us little we don’t already figure out from the final cut. The longer “Ending” just adds some minor moments, so don’t expect anything substantially different.
We can watch these with or without commentary from Affleck and Stockard. We get some thoughts about the sequences and why they didn’t make the film. Like the main commentary, we hear decent details here but don’t find great insights.
A few ads open the DVD. We get clips for Blu-Ray discs, No Country for Old Men, and Dan In Real Life. These also appear in the Sneak Peeks area along with a clip for Becoming Jane. No trailer for Gone appears here.
Slam him as an actor if you’d like, but Ben Affleck shows tons of promise as a filmmaker with his directorial debut. Gone Baby Gone occasionally slips, but it usually provides a rich, involving tale that doesn’t tell the audience what to think. The DVD presents pretty positive picture and audio along with a decent set of extras. This deep, thoughtful flick deserves your attention.