Monday, October 27, 2008

Changeling – Review

I guess I wasn't the only one to be misled by the buzz from Cannes, because I, like many others, found myself disappointed with Clint Eastwood's Changeling. Not that I consider it a terrible film like some do, but this is a perfect example of how too much early buzz can really screw a film over. While still a decent picture, Changeling doesn't come close to the expectations that I (and many others) held for it.

J. Michael Straczynski's script is faithful to the true events on which the film is based, yet still comes off as something from The Twilight Zone. The narrative is creepy and ambiguous, and may have turned out better in the hands a director more accustomed to suspense (or even horror) films. But under Eastwood's direction the plot becomes a bit too melodramatic. There's only so much grief-stricken Angelina we can take. Which is a shame, because Angelina plays grief-stricken quite well here. In more sparing doses, her scenes of anguish could have served the film better. Another performance of note is John Malkovich, playing Jolie's ally and confidant with conviction and heart.

As far as Oscar potential goes, this title is going to be falling off of everybody's charts (including mine, as my few but faithful readers have suggested), but there should still be room for Jolie, who is the film's strongest asset.

**1/2 out of ****

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