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Changeling

April 21, 2014

Changeling (2008)
Director: Clint Eastwood
Actors: Angelina Jolie, Jeffrey Donovan, John Malkovich

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Synopsis: Single mother, Christine Collins (Angelina Jolie), returns home in Twenties LA, to find her young son disappeared. A Los Angeles Police Department mired in desperately poor public relations, first finds Collins the wrong boy in their investigation, and when she disputes that find, she is ostracised by the LAPD, to the point where they even institutionalise her…

Review: In the main, I admire Clint Eastwood: for the Western gems with which he made his name (Sergio Leone’s Spaghetti Western trilogy and The Outlaw Josey Wales spring immediately to mind), the sheer longevity of his career, and a certain admirable untrendiness to his work. I say all this to mitigate against the fact that Changeling is such a dead weight of piss poor, blandly prestigious Hollywood genre cinema.

The film winds up being neither the wrenching personal drama, nor subtle police exposé, nor serial killer picture it threatens to be, instead simply plotting a whistlestop tour through the events of the narrative, even deigning to have some of the most odiously demonstrative scenes I’ve seen in a supposedly serious American film for many a year. There’s the unintentionally hilarious sanitorium scenes – so childishly bogus in their rhetoric, to the most yawn-inducing court-case denouement possible (which simply trots out all the obvious staging points and themes of the narrative to that point). If ever a film was an unmitigated turkey – this is it! (April 2014)

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