Tonight on Arte, Angelina Jolie delivers a striking performance in Clint Eastwood’s The Exchange. This is one of the main reasons to watch this feature film but it is not the only one …
For his twenty-eighth film as a director, Clint Eastwood seizes a news item that has fallen into oblivion. In 1928, the son of Christine Collins, a single mother, mysteriously disappeared in Los Angeles. Running away, kidnapping, murder? After five months of anguish, police claim to have found the 9-year-old boy. Except that Christine is convinced: this child is not hers! Barely believable and yet true, this is the story that traces The Exchange, a melody of which a large part of the dialogues is the verbatim transcription of the words of the various protagonists (doctor, police chief, judge…) recorded at the time of the case. When reality goes beyond fiction !
The interpretation of Angelina Jolie
As a courageous mother who leads a fierce fight to find her child, the actress delivers one of her finest performances. Wearing a cloche hat, she plays with rare emotional power this woman alone in the face of all-powerful institutions. Far from her usual roles, she composes her character in very subtle little details. A delicacy in the game that will earn her a nomination for the Oscar for best actress in 2009. Angelina Jolie hadn’t been so convincing since A stolen life, which earned her an Oscar for Best Supporting Actress in 2000, and An undefeated heart (2007), in which she played the wife of Daniel Pearl, this journalist kidnapped and murdered in Pakistan.
An uncompromising portrait of America
Poignant drama about maternal love, The Exchange is also the occasion for Eastwood to portray a nightmare America ruled by corrupt institutions where women are improperly interned in psychiatric hospitals, passing them off as crazy. A country where the most basic rights are violated. Located on the eve of the Great Depression, this extremely dark social fresco is an indictment against the incompetence and brutality of the police, judicial and political authorities in Los Angeles. Despite its dark and sad side, the work remains, twelve years after its release, a visual splendor thanks to a beautiful reconstruction of the period and a careful photo. A film of great strength … in short, 2 hours and 20 minutes of beautiful cinema!