Friday, February 6, 2009
"Changeling" (2008) Grade: B
I really like the feel of Eastwood's films. I always have. This is no different. I never felt it broke beoynd a certain level into becoming one of the truly impressive films of the year but I still feel it is a bit better than people seem to think it is. I was interested the whole time. Horrified much of the time. Eastwood did such a great job of recreating the 1920's. Really beautiful. The real life events of the film make a good subject because some of the things that happened were so ridiculous that you would only believe it in a film. Eastwood's music is subtle and moving as usual. The performances were for the most part great. Angelina Jolie manages to break away from her real life status and really give us a moving and genuine performance as Christine Collins. The helplessness she holds is so many situations by her character are really felt by the audience because of her performance. Her hope and desperate nature are conveyed really beautifully by her as well. I cannot believe this is the same woman from "Wanted". Collins is a woman functioning in a man's world and the power the other gender holds over Los Angeles and the country at the time really hindered Christine's choices as well as anyone who would take her and lived in a world where a woman who was desperate for helped was written off as crazy. While the emotions were there I wish there had been a been more of character here though. I do not feel like the script really fleshed her out enough at all but its not a huge complaint. I also felt John Malkovich would have had more presence here as the Reverend but he's just sort of there. But I loved how his character is a sane religious person. It was so refreshing to see a religious person portrayed as sane and likeable and good. I'm not religious at all but I feel that all the time they are portrayed as literally insane in films and its sort of ridiculous. So it was nice to see that change. I actually think I was the most impressed or at least the most effected by Jason Butler Harner as Gordon Northcott. Some people thought he was bad and over the top but I thought he was haunting and that it was as disturbing a performance as you can get. He seriously fucked with me and made the disturbing subject matter about 10 times as hard for me to watch. Because this was a disturbing film. Definitely hard to get through. I thought he was brilliant in this and I think its one of the best performances of 2008. Excuse me for being in the minority. Any Ryan was good here as well. The character I personally came to like the most out of anybody in the film was Detective Lester Ybarra. He;s not really a character though seeing as you do not really get to know him at all but hes in a ton of the film and I really liked the role he had within it. Despite all fo these performances I thought Jeffrey Donovan as J.J Jones was actively bad. I could not take him seriously with his stupid half Irish accent and found that he frequently took me out of the movie. Congrats to Jolie for being able to emote in the same scene with him. I hear he is good on "Burn Notice" but hes really not good here. He looks the part but does not play the part well. All in all this was a very solid film. Not one of the best of the year but definitely one of the better ones. While I'm not sure it works completely I still was effected by it. The scene in which Northcott hangs was the best scene in the film. Man that's fucked up. I read one comment that said that the scene explains best why the reviewer was against the death penalty. Its funny because for me it explained exactly why I was for it. Its really the only conservative thing I am for but I won't waver on my support for it. Some people just do not deserve to live. Gordon Northcott was one of them. So yeah those are my thoughts on "Changeling" Good, sometimes great, not a masterpiece by any means but definitely solid.