Movie REviews REviews by scripture reviews by alphabet
About the CRitic links
                                                Lost and Gone
“Things We Lost In The Fire”:  A formerly happily-ever-after family is star-crossed by sudden tragedy.  Steven (David Duchovny), happening across a man beating a woman, impulsively steps into the middle of a violent domestic dispute, and winds up being part of the body count.  His wife Audrey ( Halle Berry ) gets the horrible, dreaded visit from the two police officers at her front door.   Her brother and mother immediately arrive to support her, and she dispatches her brother just before the funeral to go find and inform the one friend of her husband’s who probably wouldn’t have heard the news, because he’s an active drug addict.  Jerry (Benecio Del Toro) was Steven’s best friend in elementary school, and improbably, they have kept up with each other, mainly because Steven’s a very loyal guy.  Jerry’s appearance at the funeral creates awkwardness all around, because Audrey never understood why Steven had to maintain the relationship in the first place.  But Jerry and Audrey kind of make a truce, enough so that when Jerry starts the long road to recovery, Audrey offers him the garage, easily converted into living space because of a recent fire which destroyed all the previous contents. (“Things We Lost In The Fire” included all the old photographs, and other memorabilia, and now it’s as if that old life didn’t exist at all.)  Not surprisingly, Jerry and Audrey begin to develop a grudging respect.  But his interest in her two children just makes her angry (her husband should have seen her son learn to swim).  She asks him to leave.  He does, and then relapses.  She feels guilty and takes him back in, but this time his recovery includes figuring out how to live on his own, which is, of course, what she has to do, as well.  This movie is notable for its lack of anything remotely resembling the spiritual, other than the Central Casting minister at the funeral, from a distance.  It’s as if God is absent.  And isn’t returning soon.
The same dismal atmosphere prevails in “Gone Baby Gone,” except the swearing is much more pervasive, and so is the personal corruption.  A baby-faced young private detective in Boston named Patrick Kenzie (Casey Affleck) is hired by the distraught Aunt of a missing three-year-old child.  The family thinks that the police aren’t doing enough to find the kidnappers.  So our novice but fearless detective takes his young “assistant” Angie (Michelle Monaghan) and pokes around into the squalid underbelly of the family’s life, including the sordid activities of the child’s mother, Helene (Amy Ryan), who is apparently a drug user and “mule,” and whose “friends” are seamier than she is.  Everybody’s tough, everybody’s got a hard exterior and a gutter mouth, including the cop on the case (Ed Harris).  The only suave, well-spoken character is the police chief (Morgan Freeman), but in this emotional labyrinth, civility is suspect, and nice guys aren’t to be trusted, because it could be a con.  Based on the Dennis Lehane novel, and featuring the Directorial debut of Ben Affleck, this film is beyond gritty, but at least there’s a scriptural reference at the beginning: sheep in the midst of wolves; wise as serpents, innocent as doves (Matthew 10:16).  But this movie is more about the wolves and the serpents.
Questions For Discussion:
1)      Do you have a friend whom your spouse or loved one finds unappealing?  How have you resolved that tension?
2)      Have you lost irreplaceable things?  How have you grieved for them?
3)      Have you lost irreplaceable people?  How have you grieved for them?
Dr. Ronald P. Salfen, Pastor, Grace Presbyterian Church, Greenville , Texas