So there was a time, a glorious time, when I was paid to write about movies. This was supposed to run on Radar the day they shut down. I have yet to see a movie this year that I hate more than this. Seriously, the most obscene oscar bait ever. Anyways, here’s my MAGNIFICENT UNPUBLISHED REVIEW.
Changeling is not a movie, it’s a machine. All of its clunky, disparate parts sputter and shriek as it plows undeterred towards Oscar night. It’s an over stylized mess and the first serious misfire on behalf of the usually sturdy director Clint Eastwood.
At a glance, Changeling looks like it has all the elements of a pulpy noir: the coldblooded true crime, the mendacity, the twist, the redemption, etc. But don’t be fooled! Changeling is actually a moldy 2 hour long- protest drama. You see, no one takes Christine seriously because, well, she’s equipped with a shame-cave (read: vagina). She gets humiliated, shoved around even tossed into an asylum packed with other loud-mouthed broads because she, the daring girl, speaks her mind. So the armies good and evil repeatedly clash over Christine’s case. And we are fed one empowered “stand up and fight for what’s right” platitude after another.
This all backfires spectacularly: the stogy self-righteous speeches and estrogen fueled defiance feel strangely patronizing. Do we really need to be told in the most heavy-handed way possible that men were once cruel to women because they were—gasp!– women?! Please, what a bore.
The main gimmick of the movie is, of course, Angelina herself. It has become routine that each Jolie movie features an emotionally catastrophic scene where she is able writhe and bellow in agony –A Mighty Heart, the Good Sheppard, Girl Interrupted. Eastwood sticks with tradition, but overshoots it by giving Ms. Jolie about 17 of these shattering scenes. Jolie can pitch a fit like a big girl, she certainly has the acting chops.But her giant, familiar, sallow face and transparent self-satisfaction undermine whatever emotional potency she hopes to achieve.
By the end Angelina’s hysterics are laughable, Eastwood’s austere style is sullied, and the Oscar nominations will be– at best –perfunctory.