Thursday, November 27, 2008
Changeling: Brilliant film despite Dominick Dunne
One of the best movies of recent times is Clint Eastwood's Changeling starring Angelina Jolie: it's out this week in the UK and I hope picks up Oscars galore. For the most part Jolie reins in her natal aggression - her cherry blimp lips the only early indicator of inner fire - giving rise to a sense of a sparky, molten repression in the face of police corruption. Critics have raved or bitched depending on the stomach for emotional intensity: plainly the absence of an explosion or a superhero has brought on the delirium tremens in some of the kids; others can't cope with multi-genre plotting (otherwise known as Life), this being based on a true story. I'm not going into what the film is about -if you're still in the dark, sample this lot.
Clint's only lapse is the presence of Dominick Dunne, the Vanity Fair celebrity name-dropper, in the film: he appears as some sort of mute juror late in the movie, resembling an ancient plucked owl about to swoop on a rodent. Readers of his meandering prose will know that he specialises in attending celebrity court trials, writing them up in VF and in books, for the most part telling us what we've read or seen already, then filling these chronicles out with gossip-lite intermissions about what some society twat told him about so-'n'-so in the twat's castle. He's so on the ball that he thought OJ Simpson would be found guilty of killing his wife and her friend despite Princess Diana's shrewd analysis to Dunne that he'd be acquitted.
So, Dunne's presence in the film is a wink to fans of his ringside slebby court chronicles. Well, it keeps the old fucker going, I suppose.