Changeling (2008) – Film Review
Director: Clint Eastwood
Cast: Angelina Jolie, John Malkovich, Jeﬀrey Donovan
by Matt Callard
A fascinating and elegant movie, vivid in period detail, packed full of mostly ﬁne performances and masterfully crafted. But Changeling is diﬃcult to love for one reason – it’s got ‘gimme an Oscar’ written all over it.
Angelina Jolie clearly relishes her wracked mother role, battling a corrupt LAPD, searching for her missing son. Clint Eastwood wallows in his extended Indian summer as director, allowing himself about half an hour of over-indulgence. John Malkovich does his best ever John Malkovich impersonation (always worth an Oscar shout that one).
There are genuinely jolting shocks via ﬂashbacks and a forensic examination of contemptible conduct from oﬃcialdom. But there’s also an awful lot of Ms. Jolie wailing: ‘He’s not my child!’
This kind of tearful showboating, an oddly over-acted bit of psychosis from James Butler Harner and a one-step too-far trip in to a hellish psychiatric ward contribute only to viewer exhaustion.
The ending too does not resolve or satisfy – unforgivable for a film with such impeccable pedigree.
You can sense the sympathy disappearing with the popcorn. Whoever those shady gong-givers of Tinseltown are, this is their kind of ﬁlm. One to be admired more than enjoyed.