Producer: Clint Eastwood, Brian Grazer, Ron Howard
Director: Clint Eastwood
Cast: Angelina Jolie, John Malkovich, Jefrey Donovan, Colm Feore, Jason Butler Harner, Michael Kelly
True story or not, Changeling as a film works on both your heart and mind. It’s emotional, well told and above all, sports fantastic performances. Changeling is the sort of the film that makes you stop and take notice.
The film traces the grueling time Christine Collins (Angelina Jolie) spends fighting against all odds, to find her missing son. Initially her prayer is answered when after months; the police find her son and reunite them. But her happiness is short-lived as the found child is not her son. What ensues is a gripping battle between Christine Collins and the LAPD (Los Angeles Police Department).
With Collins hoping to get her voice heard and the LAPD busy silencing her in cunning ways. With the help of Rev. Gustav (John Malkovich) Christine stands her ground and sees to it that her voice is heard and the LAPD is punished. Changeling conveys a message of hope and never giving up on it.
The film is highly emotionally, with sentiments that move and touch you and that makes it evidently clear that Clint Eastwood is superb at directing drama and telling tales filled with emotion extremely well. The story and screenplay is thoroughly riveting, with twists and turns that you never actually think of, even though they are predictable.
But, it also needs to be said that though thoroughly engaging there are the few times when the emotional baggage gets a bit too much and the linear nature of the film, at this point, doesn’t help either. There are times you think nothing more can go wrong with the characters and it does, it’s saddening till a point you give up.
Like every other Eastwood film the film is technically first rate. The use of light and color to bring out emotions that perhaps would have gone unnoticed is excellent. The manner in which the face of the characters is lit helps capture every twitch on their faces.
The editing is good in a manner of being cohesive, having said that there are certainly a lot many areas you feel the film drags. What could have been conveyed with a word is strung into a sentence and the editing does precisely that, prolongs.
While the drama moves you; the lines written and delivered are brilliant. You cannot afford to miss high intensity scenes like when Jolie is talking to the kid while he is asleep or the scene where she breaks down on hearing that her son is found. If nothing, watch Mr. Northcot plead his innocence at the time of his death, spine chilling. The film is filled with many moments that make you go wow, at the same time there are a few moments that bore.
This is easily one of Jolie’s best performances till date. Malkovich in his role makes you stand up and take notice. Harner who has a crucial yet small role is outstanding as well. Donovan and Feore have done their job well, even though the wow factor is missing.
Changeling is strongly recommended for theatre viewing. It’s one of those films you wouldn’t want to miss.