Clint Eastwood returned back to the States from his war-time double-feature of Flags of Our Fathers and Letters From Iwo Jima with this glossy but nevertheless beautifully photographed film set in 1920s Los Angeles about a single mother (Angelina Jolie) whose son's mysterious disappearance is handled in a disgraceful manner by the local police. The fact that J. Michael Straczynski's script is a quite faithful rendition of real events, is almost beyond imagination. But the absurdity of the story is also what gives the film a little zest when Eastwood otherwise tends to be doing everything a little too neat and tidy. He's not interested in the more perverse parts of the Walter Collins case; the film leans more towards a semi-noir in which there are slimy bootlickers behind every door in official offices. And Changeling is a harrowing dissection of both this and the ensuing case of Gordon Stewart Northcott (interestingly played by Jason Butler Harner). It's the systemic wrongdoings Eastwood sheds light on here, from self-gratulatory police via corrupt and quacky psychiatric hospitals to an inhumane penal system. Angelina Jolie leads us through it all with quiet, tearful desperation. It's one of her best performances. The same cannot be said of John Malkovich as a preacher who becomes her advocate. He brings mostly ersatz to his part. The elegant musical score is made by the director himself, and along with the agreeable pacing is Eastwood's best achievement here. He's also clearly nostalgic about portraing a time in which he himself grew up. Only on occasion does Changeling feel anachronistic. Nominated for several awards, none more than the 8 it got at the BAFTA's, winning none.