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Director:Clint Eastwood
Cast:Angelina Jolie, Michelle Martin, Michael Kelly, John Malkovich, Jeffrey Donovan
Release Date:2008

By Al Shipley | Posted 11/5/2008

The true story upon which The Changeling is based has everything an Oscar-caliber filmmaker such as Clint Eastwood could want: a 1928 Los Angeles full of missing children, police corruption, murder, systematic persecution of women, bizarre twists and turns, and endless opportunities for dramatic speeches and grueling violence. And the mistake that Eastwood and screenwriter J. Michael Straczynski make is simply to indulge in each and every one of those opportunities for 140 bloated, lopsided minutes. What begins intriguingly as Christine Collins' (Angelina Jolie) search for her missing son leads to a surreal dispute with the LAPD, which returns a completely different boy that it insists is her child, and later shifts focus to the discovery of the serial killer (Jason Butler Harner) who may have taken the boy. But by the time Collins is unjustly thrown into a mental institution, Changeling begins to sink into shrill melodrama verging on camp from which it never returns, as the movie lumbers through scene after scene that feels like a denouement, only to lead to further gratuitous speeches and false resolutions. And Eastwood's compulsion to show every little step of the sordid tale might be justified, if he didn't still manage to awkwardly end the movie with a captioned epilogue.

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