|2007 USA A Mighty Heart|
Summary: A Mighty Heart comes at the murder of journalist Daniel Pearl with a de-glamorized intensity: it's not a melodrama about Pearl's kidnapping and killing at the hands of Islamic terrorists, but a near-documentary about the process of trying to find him.
Thus the center of the film is not Pearl (Dan Futterman) but his wife Mariane (Angelina Jolie), a cool customer who manages--almost--to maintain her calm throughout the weeks-long ordeal. Director Michael Winterbottom is less overtly political here than in his Road to Guantanamo, although the reactions of various authorities, from U.S. officials to local Pakistani cops, give the flavor of different attitudes and approaches.
Jolie, playing the Dutch-Afro-Cuban Mariane Pearl, does nicely at playing her character's control (others marvel at her sangfroid), yet she remains recognizably human throughout. By no means a star turn, the movie leaves Mariane for long stretches, and other actors shine: Irfan Khan as a detective,
Denis O'Hare as Daniel Pearl's Washington Post editor, and Will Patton as a stymied diplomat. As engrossing as the movie generally is, the point of emphasizing the police-procedural method is sometimes obscure. Oddly enough, by rejecting the usual string-pulling of conventional Hollywood drama, A Mighty Heart ends up without a strong point of view--as good as its pieces are. --Robert Horton