Despite my long stated policy of not reading reviews until after I’ve seen a film I’ve come across quite a few views on this film. Mostly positive. Course I didn’t really read any of them. I’m not about to go against my own policy that way. But I did notice the good buzz. So maybe that is why I came out of the cinema a little disappointed at this one.
It is 1920’s Los Angeles and single mother Christine Collins is trying to raise her boy. One Sat she is called in to work and when she returns home little Walter Collins is nowhere to be found. The police set about looking and eventually, after 5 months they bring him back. Only the boy they return to Christine is different; she is, however, informed that those changes are the result of her shock and the boys trauma. Why it is quite the done thing for a boy to shrink 4 inches as a result of such a horrifying encounter. And circumcised now you say? Well it is healthy, and who knows what that drifter may have been thinking. Ms. Collins is not about to rest however. She wants her boy back.
I loved this film. I loved everything about it. The acting was brilliant. The way the story unfolded. The narration….
This is a film with impact.
The opening voice-over is a speech on the radio, an anti-tutsi speech, broadcast on Hutu Power radio, over a black screen so as to really let us hear the words. It describes the flaws, reveals the prejudices in Rwanda, tells the viewer of the cockroach infestation the Hutu people will have to wipe out. This is then contrasted by the opening scenes; In Kigali airport we see Paul (Cheadle) collecting fresh lobsters to serve in the hotel where he works as house manager. It shows a bustling, growing, on the up city. But on the way back to the hotel we are introduced to the undercurrent of tension that is played out so well throughout this film.
This is based on the true story of a serial killer in the 1970’s in California who highlighted his murders with cryptic letters to newspapers. He killed at random, and called himself The Zodiac, and wrote his letters in a code. He also often sent bloodstained items of clothes along with these letters as a sort of proof. He was never caught. Robert Graysmith was working as a cartoonist at one of the newspapers where the letters arrived, and became caught up in the case. The film is based on his book of the events of the time.