Director: Clint Eastwood
Cast: Angelina Jolie, John Malkovich, Jeffrey
Donovan, Colm Feore, Amy Ryan, Michael Kelly, Gattlin Griffith,
Frank Wood, Devon Conti
RunTime: 2 hrs 21 mins
Released By: UIP
Rating: NC-16 (Some Violence and Disturbing Scenes)
Official Website: http://www.changelingmovie.net/
Opening Day: 15 January 2009
Clint Eastwood directs Angelina Jolie and John Malkovich in
a provocative thriller based on actual events: "Changeling."
In the film, Christine Collins' (Jolie) prayers are met when
her kidnapped son is returned. But amidst the frenzy of the
photo-op reunion, she realizes this child is not hers. Facing
corrupt police and a skeptical public, she desperately hunts
for answers, only to be confronted by a truth that will change
Angeles, 1928: On a Saturday morning in a working-class suburb,
Christine said goodbye to her son, Walter, and left for work.
When she came home, she discovered he had vanished. A fruitless
search ensues, and months later, a boy claiming to be the
nine-year-old is returned. Dazed by the swirl of cops, reporters
and her conflicted emotions, Christine allows him to stay
overnight. But in her heart, she knows he is not Walter.
she pushes authorities to keep looking, she learns that in
Prohibition-era L.A., women don't challenge the system and
live to tell their story. Slandered as delusional and unfit,
Christine finds an ally in activist Reverend Briegleb (Malkovich),
who helps her fight the city to look for her missing boy.
Based on the actual incident that rocked California's legal
system, "Changeling" tells the shocking tale of
a mother's quest to find her son, and those who won't stop
until they silence her.
For close to two decades, any movie involving Clint Eastwood in an acting, directing, producing or whatever capacity is bound to be award-worthy. He also manages to draw the best in the industry to work with him in movies that come in the form of a Western, a boxing melodrama and even the Second World War. He also manages to bring out the best in actors, directing them to Oscar nomination and victories. Therefore, it was only in due time that he approached Angelina Jolie to act in a film of his.
The potent Oscar-winners collaboration has led to a powerful film in the Changeling. This is a film made for Angelina Jolie who delivers a memorable performance as Christine Collins, the woman whose son goes missing only to be discovered by the police force a few months later. She realizes that the boy is not her son but is convinced otherwise by the corrupt fuzz. In return, she fights back for her rights as a mother and she is placed in an asylum, leading to a city-wide uproar. All this as bizarre as it may sound, is based on a true story.
While this may seem like a slight departure from his usual genre of movies, Changeling is not that different in scale considering the amount of detail that has been put in making the late-1920s to the 1930s as real as possible. And with the usual Eastwood fare, this one is quite the slow burner clocking in at 141 minutes, plodding along slowly but surely. While the core of the film is a powerful affair, this is not Eastwood’s nor Jolie’s best by far. Their award nominations are merely token ones for this round.
At the heart of it all, Changeling is not only about a mother losing her son but also between the greater fight between good and evil. Here is a mother who is convinced that she has truly lost her son at logger heads with a police department that is rampant with corruption. Already armed with a deteriorating public image, their latest misadventure of finding the wrong boy would further fuel the bad press they have already received. This cues the entrance of Reverend Gustave Briegleb (John Malkovich) who himself is already on a crusade to expose the police force decides to help Christine Collins.
Despite the debate that Jolie does not have the right look for the period, she slips into the role with a seemingly effortless ease. This could be in part, due to her being a mother herself and fearing for her own children’s lives, as reported in a magazine. When her heart breaks, yours will surely break too. John Malkovich as the reverend, who helps her, compliments Jolie very nicely. He is never over-the-top (he does have the tendency to do so) and appears to be quite comfortable in the picture. Jeffrey Donovan plays the corrupt detective to a T, irritable and menacing at the same time.
It appears that despite growing older, Eastwood’s churning even more movies. This is hardly a chink in the armour but bring on Gran Torino and The Human Factor, a movie about the life of Nelson Mandela, who is played by Morgan Freeman. I hear Oscar calling out to Clint once again.
(Changeling is a good movie, it’s just not the best)
Review by Mohamad Shaifulbahri