Re: RARA-AVIS: At the Movies... (Gone, Baby, Gone)

From: Nathan Cain (
Date: 27 Oct 2007

The answer to your question is no. I don't think SC would cut it as prose. It's almost a parody of Spillane, whose work already comes close to being a parody. I recently learned, in the afterward to Hard Case's Dead Street, that Spillane got his start as a comic book writer before the War, and that I, the Jury was originally an unsold comic book project. I think Spillane would have been better suited for comics. I struggle whenever I pick up one of his novels. I've tried a couple Mike Hammer's, but couldn't get through them. I'm having the same problems with the new one. It's just ham handed and hackneyed. I'm wondering if Spillane's work doesn't feel like a trite genre parody to me because of his success. I mean, when someone does a halfassed genre attempt, like Sin City, or they're looking to parody PI's for a sitcom episode or something similar, Spillane's style is often what gets used as source material. Did his work seem fresh when it originally came out?

And I'm glad to here Gone, Baby, Gone is good. I'm about to go see it.

On 10/27/07, Kevin Burton Smith <> wrote:
> Would either the graphic novel or the film of SIN CITY have
> survived as a straight prose story, without the visuals?
> On the other hand, I'm pleased to report that GONE, BABY, GONE is
> pretty good stuff.
> I've had my fun over the years poking fun at the source, a sterling
> example of hard-boiled bloat I simply found LONG, BABY, LONG. But
> first time director Ben Affleck cut out plenty of narrative fat from
> Lehane's book, and has delivered one of the best made-for-adults P.I.
> flicks in a long, long time; a lean, mean directorial debut that I
> don't think anyone saw coming.
> His kid brother Casey, in the lead role as P.I. Patrick Kenzie, looks
> about twelve, but he pulls it off with surprising effectiveness. The
> showdown in the bar with the locals is a classic -- the sorta scene
> that in most flicks usually ends up in an excess of violence and
> stuntmen working overtime and scenery smashing gets turned on its
> head; this is hard-boiled reduced to its essence. Not the willingness
> to loudly go at it, but to quietly stand up to the threat of it.
> Both Bubba and Angie's characters have also been stripped down to
> their essence -- thank god -- and the stories moves quickly and stays
> focussed on the hunt for a missing little girl, culminating in a
> satisfyingly noirish ending that recalls CHINATOWN. Favourably.
> And the feel for Boston is dead-on, more THE DEPARTED than SPENSER
> FOR HIRE, thankfully. The language, the attitude, the claustrophobic
> vibe of guilt and grit and working class dreams that get broken
> before they even start -- it all works. I'm not sure if rookie
> director Affleck can ever pull this off again -- being a Boston boy
> himself no doubt helped immeasurably -- but this is a good one. Not
> just adequate, or "too too bad," but arguably one of the best P.I.
> films ever made, and certainly the best in far too long.
> Kevin Burton Smith
> [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]

[Non-text portions of this message have been removed]

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