I’m glad Clint Eastwood has not subscribed to the archaic notion that people should retire at a certain age. It seems Eastwood, now into his 80’s, is crafting better and better films, I’d almost say he just can’t fail.
Changeling is an extremely well-produced and directed period piece set in 1920’s Los Angeles. The story is of a mother whose son goes missing and her subsequent battle with Los Angeles police department after they return the wrong boy and claim a public relations victory. The mother’s battle is both harrowing, for the dirty pool played on the part of the police department and uplifting, for her stubbornness and persistence in the face of adversity.
Acting is good all around but its anchored completely by Angelina Jolie. Jolie, despite what critics have said, gives her best performance since Girl, Interrupted, nailing every nuance of her character’s emotional progression during the abduction and one-woman search for her son. The final scenes where Jolie confronts her son’s alleged abductor in prison are taught and emotionally charged as she turns from rage to sadness to rage to hopelessness to rage in quick succession.
Production style pays painfully close attention to detail creating a lush, alternate universe from street scenes in Los Angeles / San Bernadino and Hollywood sets. Costuming, makeup and props seemed very much authentic; I’m wondering just how long it took them to find or create so many 1920’s era cars.
While I had a few quibbles with the integrity of the screenplay and I don’t think the film made nearly as much of an impact as Million Dollar Baby, Eastwood’s Changeling, which ends on an ambiguously uplifting note, speaks to one thing we all need to get by – hope.