Two films based on amazing true events, a strong leading actor and in the case of Changeling, an Oscar winning director in Clint Eastwood and yet both pictures found me leaving the cinema slightly under whelmed.
Defiance sees Daniel Craig and his brothers leading a bunch of previously dodgy characters hiding out in the Belarusian forests to evade capture by the Jew hunting Nazi invaders in 1941.
Salvation and a different perspective in life is found as the brothers take on hoards of refugees from various ghettos and try to keep them safe and well despite the ravages of the Soviet winter.
The inevitable happens and discovery means tough choices but somehow the film never really catches fire mainly due to the poor screenplay which failed to exploit the fantastic back story on offer.
The soundtrack was extremely irritating. We are capable of working out the feelings on the screen thank you so much, without the Schindler’s list violin player reminding us.
The Changeling focuses on the true story of child abduction in 1920’s Los Angeles played out to the backdrop of a Police Department on the run from the Press due to corruption allegations and in desperate need of a feel good story.
Angelina Jolie plays the mothers whose son is snatched from home whilst she is at work, and then five months later when a lad is discovered in the company of a drifter, the LAPD sniff the chance of spectacular success to get the newspaper boys of their backs.
The mother is maligned as deranged when she points certain facts out, and the battle between her and the authorities is joined.
The casting of Burn Notice’s Jeffrey Donovan as the Police Captain left me waiting for him to do some manic comic aside to the camera, as he has such a distinctive acting style, but the real problem with the film, as with Defiance, is a lumbering screen play which stifles even the talents of John Malkovitch.
A shame as both films promised much.