In 1928 the disappearance of Christine Collins’ 9-year-old son received nationwide attention in the USA. Also at the time, the Los Angeles Police Department were increasingly being accused of corruption and links to organised crime. In an attempt to drum up some much needed positive publicity the Police Department gave Christine custody of another 9-year-old boy who insisted that he was her son. When Christine refused to accept that this boy was her real son, she was accused of being hysterical and an unfit mother. Clint Eastwood’s Changeling is based on Christine’s story and the horrific series of kidnappings and murders of young boys that later became known as the Wineville Chicken Coop Murders. Eastwood explores the injustice done to Christine and her son as a result of ineffective police work, political opportunism, socially ingrained chauvinism and barbaric attitudes towards mental health
Clint Eastwood’s place in cinema history has been well and truly established by both his iconic presence on screen and his talented work behind the camera. Eastwood really doesn’t need to prove himself any further but that hasn’t stopped him from continuing to create entertaining and well-crafted pieces of cinema. While Gran Torino is one of two films that he directed in 2008 (the magnificent Changeling being the other) it is the first film that he has acted in since his Academy Award winning 2004 film Million Dollar Baby.