Wednesday, April 08, 2009
Based on real-life events in 1928 Los Angeles, single mother Christine Collins (Angelina Jolie) returns home to discover her nine-year-old son is missing. And so begins 140 minutes of brilliantly filmed, well acted drama.
Clint Eastwood is excellent at directing films like this (Mystic River, Million Dollar Baby) that deal with loss, abuse and emotional pain in an intelligent and involving way that rarely succumbs to sentimentality.
Jolie is excellent as a strong, intelligent, loving mother working against desperate odds to see justice done (my daughter Cyan said that the acting was so convincing that she forgot that it was Angelina Jolie playing the part, oh and that her clothes were magnificent and that she hopes those fashions return soon).
John Malkovich breaks type as the Reverend Gustav Briegleb. He convincingly plays a difficult role, a determined man of God who is Christine's main ally.
It is an emotionally exhausting film that doesn't shrink from the difficult subjects it is addressing (police corruption, misogony, child abuse and murder) while managing not to exploit them for their entertainment value.