Changeling (2008): Eastwood Peels Back the Scab of Burgeoning Los Angeles


What is it about Los Angeles? Or more specifically what is it about celluloid treatments of L.A.? Every landmark cinematic portrayal of the City of Angels revels in exposing the ugly truth behind its glamorous façade.

Curtis Hanson’s L.A. Confidential (1998) offered a view of a city controlled by nefarious thugs scheming under the colour of authority. Polanski’s Chinatown (1974) reached even further back in history to reveal the sinister machinations that helped turn L.A. from a desert wasteland into a sprawling metropolis. The silver screen always remains eager to show us the dichotomy at work in L.A.: for every example of glitz and glamour, there is an equally ugly truth behind it.

Even famous American Literature views the nations’ second-biggest city with a sardonic contempt. Philip Marlowe creator Raymond Chandler penned an image of the city as a cesspool, steaming under tacky neon lights. This urban embodiment of all that is good and evil in the human experience forms the focal point of Clint Eastwood’s Changeling, a disturbing yet masterful account of a mother’s search for her missing son.

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