It has been said that the best stories come from real life. Now even though that doesn’t bode well for something like Lord of the Rings or Star Wars, it nonetheless is true for Clint Eastwood’s latest, Changeling. This is a truly real, classically made, nuts and bolts motion picture that compels from start to finish.
Based on a true story, Changeling is about a woman, Christine Collins, who one day comes home from work to find her young son missing. She immediately calls the police and an investigation is soon launched. After a few months the police say they’ve found her son and make arrangements to bring him home to his mother. However upon seeing the boy, Christine realises that the police have made a mistake and it’s not in fact her son, even though the police insist that he is.
Clint Eastwood has always been a very structured filmmaker. He has said numerous times that he doesn’t like flashy techniques or special ways of filming any given scene. He’s always been about letting the story and the characters do the talking, and this is very much evident with Changeling. And since he often works from stories that are based partially on real life events this mentality works very well. One could argue that it’s never worked as well as it does with Changeling. No one can look you in the eyes with a straight face and say that Eastwood is a bad director — just look at a couple of his most recent efforts, Mystic River and Million Dollar Baby. He has such a grasp of what makes not just a worthwhile movie, but a through and through film. This is one of the most competent directors working today and he applies his decades of experience, both in front of and behind the camera, with great conviction.