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Changeling
DVD disk
Feb 25, 2009 By: J.A. Hamilton
Changeling order
Director:
Clint Eastwood

Actors:
Angelina Jolie
John Malkovich
Jeffrey Donovan

Rating:
Movie:
Extras:
Overall:

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WHAT'S IT ABOUT?
Christine Collins returns home from work one afternoon to find her son Walter missing. Five months pass and she is greeted by the Los Angeles Police Department and a young boy who they claim is her son. Problem is, the boy they brought back isn’t Walter.
IS IT A GOOD MOVIE?
For a woman who has so many children, you’d think looking after just one would be a breeze for good ol Angie. Apparently not. This true story examines a mother’s iron will and infinite resolve when faced with the unimaginable. It plays out much like a true story as well, long and a touch boring. You really have to wonder if the focus here is her campaign to find her son, or the inhuman vision of L.A.'s (ahem) finest. This isn’t the first movie to point out the “discrepancies” in L.A. law enforcement during this time period. Just be glad as hell you weren’t living there during the twenties. I don't mind a little police corruption, but I'd rather be watching it in the form of L.A. CONFIDENTIAL. The idea of the cops being able to just throw you in the nut house and leave you to rot sent chills up my spine. Mainly cause I know I’d have ended up there (or dead) had it been me in her place. It would be nice to think if you’re persistent enough, especially knowing you’re in the right, things will come together. I know lawyers work pro bono all the time, but cases like this have to rare. Especially during a time when so much can happen or go wrong.

Angelina Jolie’s character is this film is simply radiant. A mother’s love can bring about the strength of ten men, and I gotta say it looked good on her. She wouldn’t break, no matter what and that’s a character trait so many people lack in this day and age. I’m not really a fan of Jolie’s but the woman can act, so she has my respect. And speaking of respect, I loved seeing John Malkovich in there as the Rev. Gustav Briegleb, a man who kicks ass for the Lord. Whether it was on the radio, in person or at Church, he was all over this tragic situation doing all he could and more for Christine and the pursuit of her son. Jeffery Donovan played Capt. J.J. Jones, the man you loved to hate. Some of the crap he was saying to her was nothing short of unbelievable, insinuating anything and everything to try and cover the department’s ass. Colm Feore (who you can also catch in the current season of 24) made a bit of an appearance as LA’s Police Chief, also trying to bury this story in the first hole he could find. The cast were all pretty solid here, but I gotta give special props to the children, they handled themselves really well.

My only real complaint with CHANGELING is the runtime. This film did not need to be two hours and twenty two minutes long. Good lord people, you’re only supposed to drink one Red Bull a day. By the end of this movie I was well into “sudden heart attack” territory. All in all, we could’ve lost a half hour, easy. It certainly would have made things run a bit smoother, instead of an awkward roller coaster ride of ups and downs. Slow, sometimes painful downs. The story may not have the happy ending we want, but justice is certainly served which allows you to get up and leave relatively satisfied. I’ll say this of Clint Eastwood flicks, they tend to yield great characters and compelling circumstances which more often than not, get noticed around award time. I’ve always found true stories difficult to watch, knowing what you’re seeing is real changes your perception of the film. And I think they’re counting on it here. This will be one movie you’ll no doubt remember for awhile.
THE EXTRAS
We get a couple documentaries and some previews, and oddly enough the feature wasn’t among them. I always find it strange when that happens.

Partners in Crime: Clint Eastwood and Angelina Jolie: Here we have a breakdown of different aspects used and focused upon in the making of CHANGELING. They talk about city of LA, the clothing (I love the way the cops used to look in those hats and trench coats) and the residential structures. We also have the entire staff of workers and actors giving all sorts of praise to Clint and his way of getting things done. I wonder if he feels lucky.

The Common Thread: Angelina Jolie Becomes Christine Collins: Angie shares her admiration of the character and of this woman’s journey. They were very strict with details in this film, capturing the raw essence of twenties and thirties wardrobe in amazing detail. The hats seemed to really bring Angie’s character specifically to life.
FINAL DIAGNOSIS
This movie has “Oscar” fodder written all over it, which isn’t a bad thing. Runtime and circumstances aside, this is probably a movie you’ll only watch once. Such is the nature of the beast when it comes to these sorts of films. And again, that’s OK, because CHANGELING kicks you in the gut quite hard, insuring a lasting impression. Mother’s should definitely sit down with a box of tissues though cause this film will hit you hardest of all.
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