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Changeling
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Changeling – Review

WHAT’S IT ABOUT?

Set in 1928 Los Angeles, Christine Collins (Angelina Jolie), a single mother, lives a quiet life with her nine-year-old son, Walter, and works as a supervisor at a telephone company.

One day, Walter vanishes and 5 months thereafter, the police, desperate to shed the negative image of their force that is being marred by corruption scandals, presents Christine with a child, who claims to be her son. But the child is not hers.

To avoid yet another embarrassment, Captain Jones (Jeffrey Donovan) insists that she take the child home on a “trial basis” and she reluctantly does.

However, the mounting evidence that the child is not hers propels Christine to demand the police to continue the search for her son. And when she was ignored and ridiculed by the police, she enlists a radio minister, Gustav Briegleb (John Malkovich), a champion against the police corruption, to her cause. Her actions soon backfire and Captain Jones, fearing a new scandal, accuses her of mental instability and locks her up, as the police do with other troublesome victims, in a psycho ward, where she is subjected to harsh treatment.

Meanwhile, another officer, Detective Ybarra (Michael Kelly) makes a horrific discovery while investigating a serial killer (Jason butler Harner) that not only vindicates Christine but also exposes the police force.

WHAT’S IT LIKE?

Changeling is an incredible true story, which adds a new chapter to the LA noir of “Chinatown” and “LA Confidential”. But this time, the corrupt system is exposed by a young mother, Christine Collins, who is driven by her basic instinct to save her son.

There is a powerful moment in the movie when anxious Christine Collins rushes to meet her 5-months-absent son, and is then faced with a child, who is not hers but claims to be so. And then, Captain Jones tries to convince her that the child is indeed her son but has changed and she is too overwhelmed to see that. For a moment, like Christine, we begin to believe him. Off course, that won’t last long.

Angelina Jolie delivers a riveting performance as the a tenacious mother who takes on not only a corrupt but a merciless police force, that stops at nothing in silencing its antagonists. Even after she is helplessly locked into a mental hospital and subjected to sedative drugs and electric shocks, she refuses to succumb to the police demands to forgo the search for her son and accept a son who is not hers.

It’s terrifying to think that Christine Collins, would’ve languished in the mental ward for the rest of her life, like other hapless victims of the LAPD, if her case hadn’t drawn the attention of minister Gustav Briegleb (Malkovich), who used it as a vehicle to deliver a final and deadly blow to the police state in LA.

This is a dark and emotionally draining movie that probes difficult and uneasy subjects. Gladly, it ends with a hopeful message. It runs for over 140 minutes, but it’s compelling enough to make you leave the theatre with a want for more.

Opens Nationwide 26th Nov. 2008

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