Friday, October 31, 2008


For those of you that don't know, I also write film reviews for a street team here in Tampa for the Tribune and I wanted to just paste my quick thoughts on the film from which can be found in the print version of the Tribune as well as online here at The Tampa Tribune Reel People page.

What I liked: No, Eastwood hasn’t lost it yet like many thought he would after the successes of MYSTIC RIVER, MILLION DOLLAR BABY, and LETTERS FROM IWO JIMA. But in keeping, he has returned and brought us one of the best films of the year. Although Eastwood may not seem to shine techniaclly, it is really the subtleties that make CHANGELING what it is.
And of course we are not forgetting the leading lady, A. Jolie, who many tend to forget is an actress first, and then a celebrity. If A MIGHTY HEART didn’t assure you that she’s worthy of the screen, then this definitely will. I have not seen Jolie as emotionally invested in a character as she is as Christine Collins here. There are some great supporting performances by Jeffrey Donovan as Police Capt. Jones in charge of the investigation as well as another remarkable performance by Amy Ryan whose breakthrough role in GONE BABY GONE last year impressed us all.

What I disliked: Honestly, CHANGELING is brilliantly smooth around the edges and whereas the 140 minute run-time may seem like too much, Eastwood leaves us with little time for detachment.

Would I recommend it?: The Oscar Race is well underway and I’ll be surprised if Jolie doesn’t receive a nomination. Eastwood weaves this non-fictional tale through several genres, least of all drama and suspense, but above all else, horror. Parts of this horrifyingly true tale can be some what compared to aspects of ZODIAC, SNOW ANGELS, GONE BABY GONE and even LA CONFIDENTIAL. CHANGELING is not only a great film but a truly extraordinary story of determination and hope. Get out and watch, now.

Score: 9 out of 10
- Nizar Babul

So...yeah, I did really enjoy the film. Really, the near two and a half hours don't hit you as hard as you think they would. Although the story does breakaway from Jolie's character Christine Collins for a while sometimes, Eastwood doesn't at all lose us and that is many times very easy to do when attempting to cover several different events.

Here in CHANGELING, we have the good, the bad, and the killers. Essentially, the tale leaves for very few characters with any grey to show and as calm as Eastwood is in letting the camera and editing nudge us in any which direction, the dialouge certainly beats us with it. Most characters stay constant throughout and give little thought to the opposing mentality.

I do have to point out that there are several great performances including Jolie's. Amy Ryan has a brief stint as a prostitute locked up in a psychopathic ward. And the most disturbing performance goes to Jason Butler Harner. Managing to extract grief and rage towards him, his performance alone brings this film to one hell of an finale.

I'd say, head out this weekend and check it out. Make it a double-feature with ZACK AND MIRI MAKE A PORNO. And then prepare for the next two months of spectacular films including November 14th's QUANTUM OF SOLACE. Thanks.

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