Changeling is a 2008 inspiring film directed by Clint Eastwood. It is based on an American drama known as the "Wineville Chicken Coop". Christine Collins, played by Angelina Jolie, is a single mother in the 1920s whose son mysteriously goes missing. The film goes on a journey with Collins leading her to discover the corruptness of the Los Angeles Police Department. Though the film incorporates multiple plots, the main narrative revolves around Christine Collins and her unbreakable spirit as she attempts to solve the mystery of the kidnapping of her son. The theme of the movie is that through a horrible tragedy, a triumphant success can come out of it. Furthermore, it shows that hope and love can overcome all pain and suffering. It is because of the film's use of cinematography, editing, camera movement, composition and overall mise en scène that the theme of the film is clearly represented.
The opening sequence of the film gives significant information about the setting and the narrative. This is accomplished with the use of establishing shots. The film begins with a black backdrop and plays non-diegetic music. The slow tempo music provided by brass instruments gives the film a sense of a cryptic effect. As a result, we get a vision of what genre this film could be. The music also helps trigger tension and stress from the audience. Besides the music, a teardrop on the black backdrop is shown, hinting to a sad, drama genre. A fade-in then takes us into a nearly black, almost white establishing shot of the city of Los Angeles. The date and location of the shot are provided at the center of the screen as "Los Angeles. March 8, 1928." In regards to cinematography, the lack of color that is provided informs us that the story takes place in the past when everything was presented on televisions in black and white. This occurred during the "Jazz Age," which also explains the instrumental music that is playing during the opening sequence. The cinematography additionally helps illustrate much of the California setting and time in which the film takes place. The high angle camera begins in the sky and moves down towards the traffic, people, and other objects which make up the setting. The production set includes old fashioned cars, palm trees, milk trucks, and the distinctive vintage look of California during the 1920s.
As the opening sequence fades out, we are transported to the first scene of the film into a house by a camera pan. Collins is suddenly awakened by her alarm and then wakes up her son Walter. The use of light and shadowing in this scene was quite apparent. It showed the joy and love between the mother and son during this scene before an unfortunate kidnapping took place. As the sun was shining brightly through the window and mother and son were smiling, we get a feel for the close relationship they have for each other and their unconditional love. During this scene, the camera angles also showed the loving relationship the both of them shared. A prime example is when Walter looked up to his mother with an upward camera angle showing his admiration for his mother. While Christine looked at Walter with a downward camera angle to show her gratitude for her little boy. The exchanging of dialogue between the characters occurs next, which also gives us a sense of the strength of their connection. We then see the mother and son exiting a trolley while the camera neatly closes in on their hands as they come together. A lot of framing by windows and doorways is shown in the film. One example is after the mother and son exit the trolley and stand by the school. The camera stays in the trolley and the two figures are perfectly framed by the trolley window. This is done to create a feeling of isolation or loneliness. The audience is therefore not let into a lot of personal moments like the one outside of the school which makes the audience wonder how the main character is feeling. The last part of the scene before her son is...
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