Thursday, 19 November 2009

Film Review: CHANGELING (2008)

Director: Clint Eastwood
Running time: 141 mins (approx)
Certificate (UK): 15

Watched on Sky+ Thursday 19th November 2009.


Based on true events and set in Los Angeles in the late 1920’s through to the mid 1930’s, this film tells the tale of Christine Collins and her search for her missing son Walter. At a time when police corruption is rife she battles the LAPD and the mayor’s office in her efforts to find the truth. This is, at times, a harrowing tale and one of great courage on Mrs Collins part despite the odds being stacked against her.

Coming home late from work one evening, single parent, Christine Collins finds her son, Walter, is missing. She goes around the neighbourhood, but there is no sign of him. She calls the police but they are indifferent to her pleas for help. Eventually they do turn up but seemingly do little in the way of investigation. A boy matching Walter’s description is eventually found several months later and the police, needing some good press, arrange for the press to be present at the reunion. The boy is clearly not Walter but the police captain J.J. Jones, insists he is despite Mrs Collins saying so. Adamant that the police have got it wrong, and with the help of the Reverend Gustav Briegleb, Christine gets testimony from Walter’s dentist and teacher stating that the boy is not Walter. This is still not good enough for the Captain Jones and eventually Mrs Collins is thrown into the psychiatric ward at the Los Angeles hospital. Meanwhile the case of a serial killer is revealed and it is though the Walter may have been involved. I think that’s enough of the plot, I don’t want to give too much away.

A beautifully made film, the locations and feel of it were just right for the period. Also a really fitting score written by Clint Eastwood (Damn, he so talented!), set the mood perfectly. A tremendous performance by Angelina Jolie as Christine Collins, she has really gone up in my estimation with this one! Honourable mentions go to John Malkovich as Rev. Gustav Briegleb, Jeffrey Donovan as Captain J.J. Jones, Colm Feore as Chief James E. Davis, Jason Butler Harner as Gordon Northcott, Amy Ryan as Carol Dexter and Michael Kelly as Detective Lester Ybarra.

This is a pretty long film, over two hours, and it has quite a slow pace, but it’s worth persevering with. I found it truly inspiring the way Christine would not give up on her son despite the authorities telling her otherwise. I really enjoyed it and this is, I hope, reflected in my score.

My score: 8.2/10

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