Review of Changeling written by J Michael Straczynski and directed by Clint Eastwood
This film is by far the best movie I have seen this year. The movie is based on the unbelievable true story of Christine Collins and her fight against the LAPD in 1928.
By now most people know that the story revolves around a missing child and how the LAPD tried to wrap up the case by claiming to have found the child and then returning him to his mother. The only problem was that the child was not the missing Walter Collins. On the surface it's hard to believe that such a thing could happen. That's why it's so fascinating to see how it all unfolds on screen.
It's unfortunate that the filmmakers didn't have more time to tell this story. It's tough to market a film that's more than two hours long. Changeling comes in at two and a half hours. They could have used another thirty minutes or so to set things up. What's missing is how the police must have felt pressured to solve the case. Also missing, but hinted at later in the film, is how the police convinced the boy that it was in his best interest to lie. Obviously, had the boy told the truth from the beginning none of this would have happened.
It all starts with the excellent script by Michael Stracznski. He accurately walks the viewer through the details and shows exactly how the arrogance of the police and doctors and their unwillingness to admit their mistakes led them to make such egregious errors. While the script leads the way, the actors take it to the next level by making the characters and their motivations believable. Angelina Jolie does a remarkable job of portraying how the real Christine Collins must have felt as she was ridiculed by the police who eventually had her committed to a mental hospital. The other actors are equally convincing in their roles. Throw in Clint Eastwood as director and you have a great story told well.
Lesser filmmakers would have ended the story right at two hours when the fate of the real Walter Collins is revealed. But instead they wisely tell the rest of the story by showing the court trials that followed. It allows the viewer to feel a sense of justice, especially when the attorney representing Christine Collins confronts the police captain who was so quick to dismiss Christine's claims.
This film is engrossing from start to finish. See this movie! You won't be disappointed.
Note: The official web site has a link to some of the actual LA Times newspaper articles covering the case. Go to www.Changelingmovie.net.