CHANGELING [Blu-ray] (Bilingual)
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Clint Eastwood directs Oscar winner Angelina Jolie and Oscar nominee John Malkovich in a riveting and unforgettable true story.Los Angeles, 1928. When single mother Christine Collins (Jolie) leaves for work, her son vanishes without a trace. Five months later, the police reunite mother and son; but he isn’t her boy. Driven by one woman’s relentless quest for the truth, the case exposes a world of corruption, captivates the public and changes Los Angeles forever. This emotionally gripping story illustrates the profound power of a mother’s love in “a mesmerizing film that burns in the memory” (Peter Travers, Rolling Stone).
Clint Eastwood’s mastery as a director, established over the past decade and a half with Unforgiven, Million Dollar Baby, Letters from Iwo Jima, and others, continues with Changeling, a 2008 offering based on a shocking but all-too-true story about child abduction and police corruption in 1920s Los Angeles. Single mother Christine Collins (Angelina Jolie, excellent in a role with somewhat limited parameters) finds her 9-year-old son, Walter, missing when she returns home from work one day. She files a report with the Los Angeles Police Department, an outfit that was wildly unpopular at the time (in his regular radio broadcast, a crusading pastor played by John Malkovich decries the force as "violent and corrupt," adding that "our protectors are our brutalizers"). When a child roughly matching Walter’s description turns up in Illinois five months later, the LAPD, intent on salvaging its tattered reputation, is only too eager to claim that he is Collins’ missing child. Little matters that he’s three inches shorter, is circumcised (Walter wasn’t), and fails to pass muster with Walter’s dentist, schoolteacher, and others; the cops, in particular the odious Captain J.J. Jones (Jeffrey Donovan), insist that the mistake is Christine’s, not theirs. What follows is almost too nightmarish to believe--except that it actually happened. Exasperated by Collins’ continued claim that "Walter" is a fraud, they trot out a doctor to reinforce the bogus ID, declare her unfit as a mother, and finally have her committed to a local psychopathic ward. Through it all, Collins, bolstered by the pastor and thousands of outraged Angelenos, refuses to sign a document that would exonerate the police for their egregious error. As for Walter, it’s only when the LAPD’s seemingly only honest detective (Michael Kelly) takes matters into his own hands that the grisly mystery of the child’s fate begins to be solved. That would have been a good place for the film to conclude, too. Unfortunately, it goes on for more than another half hour, with innumerable false endings that add nothing to the story and could just as easily have been summarized with a few sentences before the final credits. That flaw aside (and it’s a major one), Changeling is a powerful film, with a realistic period feel, a wonderfully muted vibe and color palette, and an understated score by Eastwood himself. --Sam Graham
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Top Customer Reviews
This movie was based on a true story and directed by Clint Eastwood in a gritty, no-frills style. There isn't a lot of action, but it definitely holds your interest until the very end. Jolie gives a strong performance as the mother who wouldn't stop looking for her son, even when she battled the corrupt police chief. Jolie is on-screen just about every minute and is a formidable screen presence. She and the rest of the cast, including John Malkovich, are all good in this very somber and intense piece.
The costumes, sets, and locations are perfectly done in 1920s style and the photography uses a lot of natural light adding to the old-fashioned feel. The movie about a mother's love and police corruption is fascinating, but it's also relentlessly grim and left me feeling quite depressed. A well-made movie, though.
Short Attention Span Summary (SASS):
1. A single mother's only son is missing
2. It takes five months for the Police to reunite the mother and the boy who said "I am the one"
3. But she knew that the kid was not her son
4. The Police Captain insisted: "Don't go Changeling. She'll love you just the way you are"
5. But she didn't
6. ... and she learned the hard way why the Police Force had such a bad reputation
7. They said she was crazy
8. But she never gave up, always hoping that her son had flown the coop.
Based on a true story, this heartbreaking movie may be difficult to watch, especially if you're a parent. A mother's greatest nightmare comes to life when her only child goes missing, and this unfortunately is just the beginning of a sordid tale of incompetence, stubbornness, malice, abuse of power, madness and murder.
Angelina Jolie more than earns her Oscar nomination as Christine Collins, the young mother at the center of this story, and good performances are also seen from John Malkovich as a fiery Presbyterian minister, Amy Ryan as a wronged woman, and Jeffrey Donovan as the Police Captain that you'll hate for a long time.
Recommended for fans of true crime stories, Angelina Jolie, and period movies that nail the sets and wardrobes.
In the process the actors he has worked with have been blessed with Academy Awards: Hilary Swank and Morgan Freeman in Million Dollar Baby, Sean Penn and Tim Robbins in Mystic River,and Gene Hackman in Unforgiven.
With his other movie of 2008, Gran Torino, as Director and Actor he has delivered one of the best movies of the year, and one of his own most memorable performances, and now delivers another outstanding movie in Changeling.
Angelina Jolie won an Oscar for Girl Interrupted. Changeling marks her second nomination.
A huge amount of credit for this movie though must go to writer J Michael Straczynski, creator of Babylon 5, who got a call one day, and the caller said: "We're throwing out some old records, and there is something you gotta see." A true story that beggars belief.
Christine Collins' son was kidnapped, and the police returned to her 5 months later a boy who said his name was Walter Collins, but she said he was not her boy. Her protests fall on the deaf ears of Police Capt JJ Jones played by Jeffrey Donovan of Burn Notice. So begins one of the most notorious coverups of an already disreputable police department.
The attention to detail in the story is nothing short of incredible, particularly in the mental hospital scenes, which are very true to life.Read more ›
Most recent customer reviews
producers should stick more to facts or they should leave these incidents to documentary makers.Published 9 months ago by Amazon Customer
Angie-need I say more?If she's in a movie,it must be good.And this one is no exception.Published 18 months ago by Barry
Many thanks have enjoyed it a couple of times already It is a very good movie .A good story as wellPublished 23 months ago by Amazon Customer
"A true story" the cove of this dvd tells us but can any filmed story be really true. All kinds of things are left out elements interposed or better yet superimposed.. Read morePublished 24 months ago by Anthony Marinelli
Eastwood makes Jolie a multi-layered actress. The story is wonderfully told and nuanced. A definite must see for any film fan.Published on March 11 2013 by Rand Wakeford