Ben Affleck initially shot to mainstream prominence after winning an Academy Award for writing Good Will Hunting alongside childhood best friend Matt Damon. While the latter sought out more challenging roles and decided to test him self as an actor in the years afterward, the former quickly became a major movie star.
Over the next six years Affleck appeared in Armageddon, Pearl Harbor, The Sum of All Fears, Daredevil and Paycheck, becoming one of the most recognizable faces in Hollywood. However, a combination of poor decision making, alcohol issues and the relentless glare of the spotlight on his private life saw his star fade gradually throughout the early 2000s, before he took his destiny into his own hands.
Stepping behind the camera for his feature length debut, Affleck directed an adaptation of Dennis Lehane’s novel Gone Baby Gone, and also co-wrote the screenplay. An atmospheric and pulse-pounding crime thriller with a modest $19 million budget, a private detective is hired to solve a missing person’s case, but the local police chief doubts he’s up to the task, although there’s something much more complicated and sinister at play.
Critics were impressed with Gone Baby Gone, many of whom expressed surprise at just how seamlessly Ben Affleck had made the transition into directing, even if it would’ve surely helped his concentration levels that he didn’t appear onscreen. Instead, his brother Casey took top billing among a stacked ensemble that boasted an Academy Award nominated performance from Amy Ryan, with Michelle Monaghan, Morgan Freeman and Ed Harris lending support.
Gone Baby Gone has crashed into the Netflix Top 10 most-watched list over the last few days, and is now the seventh most popular title on the platform around the world, having risen three places since yesterday, as subscribers rush to check it out.