3.5 stars out of 5
Changeling is a perfect example of how excellence in many of the film-making crafts does not necessarily translate into an extraordinary movie-going experience. There are very few nits to pick with the work of director Clint Eastwood (Mystic River, Million-Dollar Baby, Unforgiven), screenwriter J. Michael Straczynski (creator of the science fiction show "Babylon 5"), and their talent technical support team. The ever-glamorous Angelina Jolie (A Mighty Heart, Mr & Mrs. Smith) overcomes impossibly-billowy lips that distract in every one of her scenes and gives an Oscar-guaranteed performance. She plays Christine Collins, a woman in late-20s Los Angeles who engaged in a brutal real-life battle with the corrupt LAPD of that era over her missing nine-year-old son. Changeling, typical of Eastwood's increasingly dark work, is a harrowing and grim portrayal of the many embodiments of evil in man. It is a film easy to respect and admire, but one I found curiously difficult to relate to and to be engaged by.