Saturday, March 07, 2009
Changeling is by far the finest film directed by Clint Eastwood, hands down. I think after one viewing that it may be one of the finest jobs directing I've seen. The period detail, the performances, the score (also by Eastwood), the cinematography, the pacing--all aspects of this film approach perfection.
So why did Slum Dog Millionaire, which is by no measure its artistic equal, clobber it at the Oscars and in the box office? Timing. People are tired of corrupt government scandals, they're tired of tyrannical politicians on the take, they can read the news about governments lying and manipulating the press, and these elements are the meat in Eastwood's stew. He's obsessed of late with the murky gray areas, the puzzling amoralities, the brutal realities of America's seedier past (and present). A shame, that, because Changeling deserves to be seen.
It is bleak, however, and treads the most painful territory. John Malkovich is only one member of a magnificent cast headed by Angelina Jolie, for whom I've never had any respect as an actor. Changeling changed that, and how. She is spectacular.