Writer: Syahida KamarudinWriter Ratings:Overall: Cast: Plot: Effects: Cinematography: Watch this if you liked:
“Gone Baby Gone”, “Mystic River"
Clint Eastwood has not always been the best actor there is. But when it comes to directing, the laconic Man With No Name knows what he wants. And in this dark thrilling drama that combines two sets of events into one (the alteration of the Prohibition-era LAPD from corruption to redemption, and the Wineville Chicken Coop Murders initiated by child predator Gordon Northcott), Eastwood takes his direction to a new height.
To think that all this comes from an anxious mother who lost her son!
Fans who are already familiar with his other films like "Letters From Iwo Jima" and "Million Dollar Baby" will find it less terse and a little 'unEastwood'. Then again, "Changeling" is much more concise and spot on than all his other directorial works. Every scene is important and not one is wasted on long unnecessary dialogues. Not that the dialogue is that inspirational but to squeeze so many stories inside one movie, this would be considered an excellent effort.
Angelina Jolie has long annoyed us with action movies that showcase her figure and hotdog lips makes this reviewer scream "For the love of God, you're tough, we know - let's move on!" But she has indeed moved on and gave a brilliant performance as Christine Collins. Her act is definitely the highlight of this writer's reviewing year as she portrays Collins perfectly - a fragile single mother in the late 20s who lost her son and was forced to accept the one given to her by the police. Many might think that in such cases a mother would be extremely hysterical but Jolie did not go for the easy, choosing to show the audience this shy, delicate being who doesn't want to create trouble, only her son back. John Malkovich needs no appraisal, for he seems to know what he is doing as Presbyterian minister Gustav Briegleb. This character deserved more screen time.
The late 20s to early 30s setting is quite remarkable. You will love the whole film's dark nuances. One would wish to see more of LA in those years but then again this is not the movie in which such things as background is as significant as, say "Chicago" or "Gangsters Of New York".
In short, if you had never bothered about Jolie all this while, this is the movie you might just find yourself changing your mind.Cinema Online, 23 January 2009