“Gone Baby Gone” & Mental Popcorn & Sex

Hard to say if “Gone Baby Gone” will have legs.

Ben Affleck’s impressive directorial debut has smarts.

Like “Mystic River,” the film is based on a Dennis Lehane novel; meaning, you can expect a complex story with well-crafted characters and you won’t be disappointed.

Ben’s younger brother Casey scores a breakthrough role as a Boston-born private detective who, with his girlfriend-partner, investigates the abduction of a little girl from her apartment.

One of the wonderful byproducts of the situation is the kind of ethical dilemma that keeps people mulling about it for days, even weeks, after they’ve seen the film.

Short digression: If you like chewing over situations where you have to make a choice and neither option appeals, and no matter what you do you will lose something, find a copy of “Ethics (and Other Liabilities: Trying to live right in an amoral world,” a collection of Harry Stein Esquire essays collected in hardback in 1982 and published in paperback sometime after; they’re still timely and fun, easy, provocative reads.

Each reader-friendly piece – “The Curse of Right and Wrong,” “The Neighbor’s Life,” “To Breed or Not to Breed,” “Living with Lies,” 27 in all – is yet another example of what I call “mental popcorn.”

Mental popcorn is some idea that’s fun to think about, discuss, debate. And, in the case of Stein’s examples, it’s also fun to read.

That sort of mental popcorn heats up “Gone Baby Gone.” To identify it would give too much away, and that’s not right.

What is right, because it occurs to me, is to look at an ethical dilemma in a real-life down-and-dirty situation.

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