Saturday, July 2, 2011

Changeling (2008)

Eastwood At His Directorial Darkest

- Clint Eastwood has directed some dark films in the past - Play Misty for Me (1971), High Plains Drifter (1973), Mystic River (2003), Letters from Iwo Jima (2006), to name a few - but Changeling is the darkest he has reached. The story goes to a place that I certainly did not see it going: this story of a woman's missing child takes the viewer down the road of corruption and murder in Los Angeles during the late-1920 and early-1930s.

Angelina Jolie stars in this film giving a much deserved Oscar-nominated performance as Christine Collins, a woman who was given back the wrong child by the L.A.P.D when her own child went missing. Jolie has never been better than she is in this film - portraying the pain and desperation of her character to absolutely striking levels.

The film stumbles in the area of supporting actors where only John Malkovich and his passionate portrayal of the righteous Rev. Gustav A. Briegleb, Jason Butler Harner and his creepy turn as Gordon Stewart Northcott, and Michael Kelly and his very Dana Andrews-style portrayal of Detective Lester Ybarra come out ahead. None of the other performances resemble anything spectacular and Jeffrey Donovan (of "Burn Notice" fame) is particularly bad.

But despite the handful of disappointing supporting performances, Changeling remains a very effective thriller thanks to Eastwood's dark but soft touch behind the camera and Jolie's powerful performance in center stage.

CBC Rating: 8/10

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