Changeling is a movie which had been in lying on my shelf for a couple of months now. I was a bit reluctant to watch it due to the trailer which focussed on the fact that Angelina Jolie son was not her son even though everybody else says. It presented the movie as a David-Lynchian-mystery which in the end is not the case. After finally watching it I feel stupid for not watching it sooner because it is one intriguing movie.
Like North By Northwest the lead believes something even though his belief is supported by nothing and questioned by everybody. Such is not entirely the case here but it’s the best comparison I could make. This movie does start out as the mysterious thriller about a woman who’s child goes missing and who is returned by the police 5 months later only she’s convinced it isn’t her son, but the unraveling of the mixed-up-child-mystery comes rather early when the movie is only at 50% of it’s entire running time. This is not a bad thing because this is the moment I though the movie became more compelling and interesting. I will not go further into any details for spoiler-sake.
Changeling is a period piece. It tells a true story set in the 1920’s and 30’s. Nowadays the “this is not my son”-setup wouldn’t even be possible with DNA-testing, tons of photomaterial, profilepages on the internets and the media to grant anyone who’ll draw viewers with their story screentime. It’s even hard to swallow that even though teachers and dentists confirm that the boy in question is not her son the authorities keep denying this claim coming up with all kinds of weird explanations how Walter shrunk 3 inches in the last 5 months. The period is beautifully shot and ver convincing allthough I did had the idea that occassionly one too many of those old cars drove by the camera just to remind us of the time. It felt a bit forced.
What is fun about this movie is that you can play “name that face”. Of course everybody will probably recognize John Malkovich and Angelina Jolie (though my girlfriend didn’t and I can’t blame her. Apart from her lips Angelina disappears in the character and is hardly recognizable). In supporting roles people like Colm Feore (currently in 24), Geoffrey Pierson (The star of 90’s sitcom Unhappily Ever After) and Jeffrey Donovan (Michael Westen in Burn Notice). He also recieves a Burn Notice in this movie sort of. He should watch out for typecasting.
The movie is directed by Clint Eastwood. The man must have the idea that any movie he makes could be his last (which is true of course, but that goes for everybody. Accidents do happen you know) so he really’s starting to turn out one good film after another. Who would expect that the silent cowboy from the westerns half a century ago would turn out to be one of the greatest filmmakers today? Nobody did, but Clint proved us wrong and I’m glad because maybe then these script would have gotten in the hand of lesser directors. I hope Clint can go on to make more movies that could be his last for years to come now.
Changeling; I was hesitant to view it. I’m happy to say I was wrong.