Friday, October 31, 2008

A VERY COMPELLING FILM FOR WHY HONEST ATTORNEYS ARE NEEDED TO PROTECT OUR RIGHTS AND A PRESS MOTIVATED BY TRUTH IS ESSENTIAL TO THE DEFENSE OF OUR FREEDOMS

Before getting into a more substantive review of "Changling," let me say the costumes, hair, hats - all of the period items were great. The story gets an A+. It is a true story. If you can understand the story at every level you will begin to understand what informs me as a person. For me one of the most interesting scenes involves Jolie and the Canadian (trying not to give it away). I was sitting there and wondering if the mother in real life was asking, how things might have been different had the Canadian received as a child the help he needed. You see, an important part of the film shows how mental health professionals then, and still do, used their profession to silence those who speak out while ignoring those who are desperate for help.

The story is simple. A child goes missing. A corrupt LAPD looking for good publicity brings back the wrong child. Jolie fights them with trivial evidence such as, circumcision, three inches shorter, dental records which show it is a different child, and of course the teachers who know this is not her child.


Her battle is one of extraordinary courage. But she also had an attorney willing to buck the system and do the right thing. Could you imagine if such an attorney existed in Cameron County? Did you know that the so called hero attorneys in Cameron County can put together a grand jury referral on Villalobos and have him indicted in no time, but they don’t because they need the corruption to survive.

The story is very compelling. It speaks to what happens when the lawyers refuse to do their job. It speaks to what happens when the press refuses to do its job and chooses to make itself party to the corruption. It is so many ways our world today. The press is collapsing because most news editors consider the truth unfit to print.

The film may receive an Oscar for its subject matter. Many of the lessor characters did put in Oscar performances - the Canadian, the hero detective, the child who was living with the Canadian - but Jolie and Malkovich showed their limited range in acting. They were both good, but just not good enough for this film. In some ways their mediocre acting diminished what should be one of the best films ever made in this genre.

In the end you will not be disappointed by this film. There are two great endings. When time permits I will research out all of the facts. The child who was living with the Canadian would have actually known the answer to a key question. He is never asked the question in the film.

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