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A Mighty Heart

2008-01-10 16:37
What it's about:

Wall Street Journal reporter Daniel Pearl (Dan Futterman) is on assignment in Pakistan investigating America's brutal war against the Taliban, when he's kidnapped by alleged Islamic extremists who demand the release of terrorists held captive at Guantanamo Bay. His wife, Mariane (Angelina Jolie), tries to remain strong in the face of this tragedy, while various parties search for him amid the turmoil of the war.

What we thought of it:

A Mighty Heart has become a polarising movie in America, and many people have projected their own politics onto what is essentially a story of personal tragedy. Leaving the chaos and unrest in Karachi, Daniel Pearl sets off to conduct an interview with an Islamic extremist cleric and never returns to his serene home. For his wife Mariane, this is the beginning of a nightmare of searching with a tragic end.

The film is based on Mariane Pearl's biographical account. Angelina Jolie does a magnificent job of portraying a very complex character experiencing the most extreme emotional conditions. All the political posturing and assurances pale beside the public determination and inward anguish that Jolie channels. It's easy to forget that she's a talented actress despite several poor career choices and all the tabloid press, but she carries this film and proves herself again.

Dan Futterman also does an excellent job. The numerous flashbacks construct his character while simultaneously building a sense of loss, tossing up memories of both special and mundane events in the couple's past. This utterly believable portrayal of a couple in love makes the inevitable horror all the more shocking.

Because this tragedy occurred recently it feels all the more real, and the quick changes from depressed panic to hope and back make for a gripping and sometimes exhausting film. The chaos of the war and the peek into life in Karachi are magnificent, and the strong cast makes this film compelling. Don't miss it.

- Ivan Sadler
Angelina Jolie proves she has talent after all in this true story of the kidnapping of US journalist Daniel Pearl in Pakistan after America’s invasion of Afghanistan, from his wife Mariane's perspective.

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