Changeling Blu-Ray Review

Cover Art and Menus: 8/10
This is a cover I appreciate. In fact, I find myself just looking at it, at her face, wondering about what’s going on in her head. I think that says a lot about a cover, and that’s BEFORE I watched the movie. After seeing the whole story I look at her in a whole new way. Seriously, I don’t every say this kind of stuff about a DVD cover, so note the date for history!

The Menu is standard Blu-Ray themed for the movie. Let’s face it, unless a menu is really really exceptional, there’s not much to talk about. And why make an exceptional menu when the movie is the star of the whole package anyway?

Features: 6/10

  • Partners In Crime Clint Eastwood & Angelina Jolie – Talking heads with the cast and crew, including Jolie, Eastwood, and others. It’s an amazing film and to be honest, I didn’t need much in the way of extras. They talk about each other, the story, making the movie..etc.
  • The Common Thread Angelina Jolie Becomes Christine Collins – This is pretty much just more of the first extra but focusing on Jolie and how she got prepared to play her role as Collins. I think they could have smushed these two bits together and it would have been fine:)
  • U-Control (PIP/Archives) –The features are standard with U-Control including a few added things like retrospective images of Los Angeles then and now, plus the standard picture in picture content of behind the scenes. It also feeds that other thing called “need to find the truth behind TRUE story”. I am interested in the real people behind the events that took place that inspired the movie. There are photos, news clips, and more to help piece together an outline of what happened.
  • Blu-Ray Live Enabled –You can save your favorite clips and share them with friends…not really my thing.

The Movie: 10/10
There are very very few movies in my lifetime that leave me feeling completely satisfied. Satisfied in a way that I can’t fully explain, but I’ll try.

The story is based on true events. Los Angeles in the late 1920’s, the police department and local government were riddled with corruption, violence, and a power over the city. A woman’s son is missing and when they bring her a boy, the wrong boy, she’s bullied, intimidated, and even committed for trying to convince someone of the truth. While Christine Collins is trying to find her son, other dramas unfold.

A local pastor has made it his mission to bring justice to the corrupt police and local government. The Police Chief and mayor want to keep things status quo, and anything or anyone in their way is clearly cutting into their profits, freedom to reign supreme. While a series of other crimes run parallel to missing Collins boy’s investigation that eventually will bring all the different elements of the saga come together.

Every element of the movie is perfect for me, despite my initial neutrality about Angelina Jolie. She converted me. I have underrated her for the duration of her career, and now I have to give credit to her ability to bring this woman completely and fully to life in ways so intuitive I can’t even describe. She is subtle when she needs to be in quiet emotional scenes, strong yet controlled when she is faced with a man-centric bureaucracy. There are moments I truly lost any reference in my cold heart that she is who she is and just got lost her her character.

There are forces at work, yes, amazing sets and costume will add to most performances.  This movie transported me to a time I didn’t live in, but not in a caricature kind of nostalgic way. These sets and the people looked like photos I have of my grandparents and great grandparents. Not exagerated or contrived, but still with all of the formality and unique style that defined the 20’s and 30’s of the 20th century. This had to help Jolie and John Malkovich, and everyone else in the movie play their roles in an even more refined way, but I won’t take away from their purely captivating performances.

You could say that having Clint Eastwood as your director would perk you up and make you better than you really are, fair enough. There’s nothing wrong with assuming that someone of his generation and standing in the film community would make the cast want to do their very best. The thing is, you can’t squeeze blood out of a turnip, right? He got the best of them because it was in them to begin with. There are times with the entire cast, every single person when I was wide eyed and my heart was flipping a beat to see and hear what they would bring to the next moment, the next scene.

The heart of the movie is the idea of a woman who, despite being a single mother in an era when men were just a few years post-wild west so they still had the nerve to be brazen bullies who wanted to keep their place in society, them on top with their foot on everyone else’s throats, stood up and did what she could to forge ahead. It was clear to me that through the whole story the only people who were listened to, who were considered important enough to be trusted, were men or boys. I have no delusion that this woman was little more than an annoyance. She wasn’t Crystal Jordan (Norma Rae), Karen Silkwood, or some other woman activist we might recall. She was put in a situation by fate and a broken system, and she did not crumble under its feet.

This is a gorgeous film. The music is almost invisible, but powerful at the same time. The pace is exactly right with quiet and dynamic moments in balance so as not to emphasize or over dramatize either, which can make a movie less genuine. I can’t say enough good things about Changeling. I come across maybe one movie a year that charges my battery, so to speak, and this did the trick 🙂

Audio & Video: 9/10
Changeling on Blu-Ray disc looks incredible. Like last week’s movie RockNRolla, this movie has a strange desaturated look, but the overall sharpness of the image is outstanding. Changeling has been nominated for an Oscar for art direction and you can see why when you see how good this looks. One unfortunate error I noticed, thanks to the clarity of Blu-Ray, was the tattoo on Angelina’s shoulder blade. It was visible in the shower scene. I am not sure why it was not removed digitally but it’s clearly there when you see the movie in HD. The movie is presented in the original theatrical aspect ratio of 2.40:1 and is pressed onto a dual layer Blu-Ray disc which enables this long runtime movie to have quite a high bit rate throughout.

As usual Universal have delivered a top notch TrueHD uncompressed soundtrack which, despite the low key nature of the movie, sounds great. Some noticeable moments for me are the flashbulbs of the paparazzi camera’s in the court scenes and some unusually clear conversations going on in the rear surrounds. Changeling is one of those quiet slow burn movies where the detailed soundtrack actually adds a lot of atmosphere. Overall highly recommended.

Value: 7/10
I would buy this movie, but it’s still too expensive. The extras aren’t great, just so-so. The movie is fantastic, but will I watch it again anytime soon? Probably not until I have someone new to share it with, mom are you reading this?? It’s a wonderful film watching experience so I say rent it, buy it, stream it on one of your online services, but watch it for sure!!! It doesn’t have to be a costly investment, but it’s worth a few bucks, even for me the cheapskate!!

Overall Score 9/10

One thought on “Changeling Blu-Ray Review

  1. This really is a good cover, it shows so much emotion in her face, which she was probally feeling while doing this movie, just thinking about herself being a mother.

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