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Featuring Angelina Jolie
Review by Sharlet Liebel ©2008
Award-winning is the acting performance and many-faceted believability of the character portrayed by Angelina Jolie , of a mother whose young boy disappears without a trace. Added to this is the direction and music of Clint Eastwood; definitely brilliance is his mainstay trademark.
This featured presentation is daring and provocative. Apparently, the title is derived by the exchange of one young person for another. In addition, it is enhanced by magnificent scenes featuring authentic vehicles and streetcars driving through traffic, as well as period street clothes, home décor, and hairstyles that transport the viewer through a time-warp back to the years beginning in 1928. Many of the street scenes take place in Pasadena and Mira Loma, California.
The dark true story takes place in Los Angeles, California, at a time when the Police Department was corruptible to the extent that innocent women were thrown into abusive situations. Their fate was disappearance at the Mental Institution for uncooperative behavior solely dependent upon the whims of the Police Chief. This incarceration was without benefit of a Court Order to show cause.
Our protagonist is a young mother whose life is interrupted by an unknown intruder who disappears with her son. She calls for help from the Police Department who put her off. She persists and soon the Police Department brings her a child to appease the citizens of the community and the newspapers carrying headline news about her quest. This is a set-up and the deceit is forced upon this young woman who insists that the boy is not her son and that all the time wasted could be crucial to finding her son. Unfortunately, the young boy who has learned to lie about his true name and insists this is truly his mom works against her and he cannot be persuaded by this poor woman to fess-up due to his own desperate need to stay out of foster care.
This desperate situation is championed by an Activist Preacher played by John Malkovich who has heard of the mother’s plight and has his church pray for her. Additionally, he is very public about his support for the young woman by openly antagonizing the corrupt Police Department through his church broadcasts.
Except for the Pastor and a later coincidental investigation by an honest detective, the mystery of the child’s disappearance would never have been discovered.
This movie is intriguing with shockingly suspenseful moments as well as the discovery of a killer-at-large. I would recommend this movie as a documentary and worthy of viewing.