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Changeling (2008)

Director:
Clint Eastwood
COUNTRY
USA

GENRE
Drama/Mystery

NORWEGIAN TITLE
Changeling

RUNNING TIME
142 minutes

RELEASED BY
Universal
Producer:
Clint Eastwood
Brian Grazer
Ron Howard
Robert Lorenz

Screenwriter:
J. Michael Straczynski


Cast includes:

CHARACTER ACTOR/ACTRESS RATING

Christine Collins

Angelina Jolie

Rev. Gustav Briegleb

John Malkovich
J. J. Jones Jeffrey Donovan

Det. Lester Ybarra

Michael Kelly
Chief James E. Davis Colm Feore
Gordon Stewart Northcott Jason Butler Harner
Sanford Wesley Clark Eddie Alderson

Carol Dexter

Amy Ryan
Sammy "S.S." Hahn Geoff Pierson
Dr. Jonathan Steele Denis O'Hare
Ben Harris Frank Wood
Dr. Earl W. Tarr Peter Gerety
Walter Collins Gattlin Griffith

Arthur Hutchins

Devon Conti

 

Review

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.

Copyright 03.03.2020 Fredrik Gunerius Fevang

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