peteg's blog - noise - movies - 2012 01 30 Changeling


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I'd got it into my head that this movie was rubbish, despite the general robustness of Clint Eastwood's recent output, and because Angelina Jolie is generally the worst part of any movie she's in. Given that, it (and she) was better than I expected.

I liked how Eastwood shipped some iconic imagery from his career into more settled contexts: digging in a boneyard, a noose around a neck (but less the hanging itself), and (in contrast) justice coming from a lawyer. The cops are totally bankrupt, little more than punching bags. It takes me pretty much the whole movie to believe that Malkovitch is not a psycho, though he is on the edge for most of it; his character may have been more sympathatic than he managed to portray. The bloke playing the crim got a raw deal: his character is stock nuts and gutless. Is Clint trying to distinguish moral absolutism and absolution here?

As observed by Dana Stevens, the movie's biggest weakness is the unidimensional characters that don't develop much, though Angelina does get a bit steelier towards the end. It is entirely unsubtle throughout. I guess it's a bit Million Dollar Baby (strong female lead and resulting moral issue) with still-open M.I.A. themes that might link it to Letters From Iwo Jima and Flags of our Fathers. Clint's trip to Cuckoo land is as completely humourless as everything else.