- Harsher in Hindsight: The film was released right around the time of 4-year-old Madeleine McCann's unsolved disappearance, which prompted the U.K. release date to be delayed by a few months. Amanda resembles Madeleine.
- Some Anvils Need to Be Dropped: Patrick's line about "The hundreds of children who go missing each year and never return" is chilling. Not to mention how sickening it is that Amanda's abduction, while no less heinous, got more attention than the poor Hispanic boy who was raped and murdered. Lehane has admitted that that part of the book in particular was a reflection of things he'd seen while he worked with abused children.
- Squick: The scene in which Patrick Kenzie enters Corwin Earle's room and sees what is there. The images only last a few split seconds, and Word of God is the scene was shot to resemble someone remembering a trauma. A few split seconds are more than enough, and Patrick actually throws up at the sight.
- Tear Jerker: Bressant's speech about the time he planted evidence when he gets to the part about the kid.
Bressant: Now, this place was a shithole, mind you? Rats, roaches, all over the place. But the kid's room, in the back, was spotless. No, I mean, he swept it, mopped it; it was immaculate. The little boy's sitting on the bed, holding onto his Playstation for dear life. There's no expression on his face, tears streaming down. He wants to tell me he just learned his multiplication tables. I mean, the father's got him in this crack den, subsisting on twinkies and ass-whippings, and this little boy just wants someone to tell him that he's doing a good job.
- Wangst: Helene spends a lot of time whining about her daughter not being returned to her, especially considering how she treats her daughter. Even Patrick starts to get sick of it.