Wednesday, October 27, 2010


Movie Review : Changeling
Released : 2008
Director : Clint Eastwood
Genre : Drama
Starring : Angelina Jolie, John Malkovich
My Rating : 8 out of 10

Clint Eastwood has established himself as a foremost contemporary director with a distinctive style. With well developed characters, a strong focus on the story and a very deliberate pace, his movies capture our attention and never let it go. Even when the movie is over. "Changeling" is no exception.

The movie is based on a true story. In late 1920s, a single mother (played by Angelina Jolie) is living with her only son, about 10 years old. One day, her son goes missing. Most likely kidnapped. The police claim to have found him. But when the boy is returned to the mother, she claims it's not her son. Why do the police pressure her to accept the boy as her son ? That's not hard to figure out, as the movie shows how corrupt the cops were. But what happened to her real son ? And will the police accept their mistake and find the real son before it's too late ?

That's the real focus of the movie, and hence I won't divulge any further. The movie takes its time in developing the story. But remember, true stories do not have neat fiction like endings. So more than the ending, how the movie reaches there is important. The story progresses on at least 2 lines. The struggle against the corrupt police system, and the real investigation that becomes more and more disturbing as it progresses.

These 2 lines eventually merge together. Neither one is pleasant. Eastwood doesn't take any easy routes and no parent can remain unmoved by what gets discovered in the investigation. This movie is not for the faint of the heart.

Everything about this movie is top class. Great direction, great script and superb editing. John Malkovich does a perfect job in the role of a pastor supporting Angelina Jolie's fight. All other actors perform admirably, especially the alleged kidnapper (played by Jason Butler Harner) is evil personified.

Angelina Jolie received an Oscar nomination for this role, and I happen to disagree with it. She did a good enough job, but I wasn't wowed by it. A role like this offers a lot of scope to the actor to be great. Her acting was very good, but should have been great. That and the length of the movie, stops me from giving it a full 10.

This is correctly rated as R, and kids should be kept away from this movie. For serious movie buffs, this is highly recommended.

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