Friday, November 28, 2008


STEVE - Clint Eastwood’s latest film stars Angelina Jolie as Christine Collins, mother of young Walter Collins who goes missing in the city of L.A. in 1928. Her life takes a tumultuous turn when after months of searching the L.A. Police claim to have found her lost son. It is only when mother and son reunite that Collins realizes that the child is not her own.

There is no doubt that Clint Eastwood is a master behind the camera. He has stylized his film to near perfection with his common use of cold colors and bleak tones, and is this film bleak. Eastwood carries the audience on an emotional rollercoaster causing us to feel anguish for Ms. Collins, hatred for the corrupt L.A. Police Department, and a tingle of horror at the eventual outcome.

Eastwood directs a fine movie, but unfortunately falls short of the mark that is expected of him. The film is saturated with over-the-top performances that play down the intensity and drama of each scene. It’s unfortunate as Michael Kelly gives one the most understated performances of the film as the only non-corruptible cop in L.A.

As a director, Eastwood’s favorite themes deal with issues of evil, the bad things that happen to decent people. As I was watching this movie, mad at the unfairness and poor treatment that Ms. Jolie’s character was experiencing as she was lied too, treated as inferior, and then tossed away in a psychiatric ward with no just cause, I couldn’t help but ask the question, why is this happening? Why are these people treating her this way?

And I couldn’t help but wonder if answering those questions might not have been a more interesting tale to tell than the one I was watching. No doubt the tale of Ms. Collins and her son was a true account that needed to be told. Audiences should always be reminded that a governing system which goes unchecked can have terrible consequences on us all. But the tale wasn’t as capturing nor at the same level of greatness as other Eastwood films dealing with similar issues such as Forgiven, Mystic River, or Million Dollar Baby.


Adam said...

The last line of the movie - about her having hope should have been cut. Not sure what he was thinking with that one. The character had nothing but hope the entire movie...

My favorite line came from the dentist:
"Pardon my language, but hell yes!"

He said it just awkward enough to make me laugh for a good five minutes.

toma said...

I did enjoy the dentist as well...

I'm curious... how did you feel about the movie at the half way point... did anyone else feel as if a second movie had started?