Clint Eastwood's masterly war films Flags of Our Fathers and Letters from Iwo Jima were curiously ignored last year when the Oscar for best director was handed out. This year the Academy should make amends by honouring Eastwood for his magnificent account of the true story of single mother Christine Collins (Angelina Jolie) whose nine-year-old son was kidnapped in Los Angeles in 1928.
What makes the story especially harrowing is that the LA police department, eager for a public relations triumph, returned the wrong boy and initially persuaded Collins that he was her son.
Eastwood, using J Michael Straczynski's superb screenplay, affectingly charts Collins's courageous fight to get the police to continue looking for her real son and to bring corrupt officials to book, going through hell in the process.
Jolie's career-finest performance rightly dominates the film. That, with a perfectly-chosen supporting cast (Denis O'Hare's chilling portrait of a venal physician stands out) and the vivid evocation of 1920s LA, makes it unmissable. Eastwood, America's finest living director, never puts a frame wrong.