Changeling: Compelling retelling of mother’s fight for truth

2009-02-22 00:00

Film: Changeling

CineCentre

If you didn’t know, you wouldn’t guess that this is a Clint Eastwood movie. The only clue, if you thought long enough about it, is that there’s a trademark dryness about how he presents the story, even when it’s lush or dramatic.

Angelina Jolie plays a single mother (Christine) whose son Walter goes missing in Los Angeles in 1928. The plot breaks up into four phases. In the first, there’s the intrigue of what might have happened. In the second, the police bring home a boy they claim is Walter, but who Christine insists is not, which places her in conflict with the might of a very corrupt and very brutal LAPD.

It’s plain that he’s not, but who he in fact is is a mystery in itself. The even bigger question is what forces have conspired to place him in this situation. I kept feeling that he was going to pull a Chucky. There’s an abrupt, shocking shift in phase three into a parallel tale of a serial killer who may or may not be linked to the disappearance of Walter, and finally there’s the climax in which justice triumphs, in a way, over a conspiracy of police and political thuggery.

The events are based on fact, and they are gruelling and compelling to watch. The telling is understated except for brief outbursts of melodrama, and the portrayal of Jolie’s character especially is stylised, making for a muted, strangely ethereal mood. Jolie ranges from aloof and in command, to flustered and timid, to eventually angry and resolved in a way that makes it easy to agree with her Oscar nomination, although not quite powerful enough to clinch it, I don’t think.

(You’ll know by the time you read this whether I’ve made an idiotic prediction). But then, it would take a real effort to mess up such a searing, wrenching account of an individual jammed between a tragic event and a callous system from which there appears to be no escape.

****

Join the conversation!

24.com encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions.

24.com publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
0 comments
Comments have been closed for this article.

Inside News24

 
/News

Book flights

Compare, Book, Fly

Traffic Alerts
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.
 
English
Afrikaans
isiZulu

Hello 

Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.


Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Settings

Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.




Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.