Review: A Mighty Heart
Directed by: Michael Winterbottom
Starring: Angelina Jolie, Dan Futterman, Archie Panjabi
PLOT: A film based on a book written by journalist Mariane Pearl, outlining her courageous search, struggle and life during the kidnapping and execution of during her journalist husbands tragic disappearance and death.
CRITIQUE: Although the film is about the struggle of two honest journalists on a mission to uncover the truth behind the shoe bomber, I think Winterbottom doesnt stray from capturing the essence of the film and the message Mariane intended on relaying. There are several reasons why I was truly touched by and enjoyed the film, the first being its pace. The storys suspense and drama unfolded at a steady pace, giving us plenty of excitement and action to keep us guessing til the end. Since this is based on an actual news story whose sad fate we are well aware of, I still found myself hoping and wishing that the story would someone take a magical detour to a different conclusion.
Another reason I liked the film was that it refrained from using unnecessary, grotesque violence to over glamorize and sensationalize the story. We are familiar with the types of torture and brutality bestowed upon innocent journalists imprisoned and kidnapped during a time of war but we need not be visually reminded of the stomach turning extremities. Its bad enough that were constantly flashed with heartbreaking images of torture in prison camps by television news. Obviously, Mrs. Pearl had very different intentions with this educational and inspirational book.
Angelina Jolies portrayal of Mariane Pearl was very impressive. Despite the validity and clarity of her accent, I was moved by her performance and struggle to remain calm and rational during a time of calamity. Although it was apparent that terrorist groups kidnapped Danny Pearl played by Dan Futterman, Marianes maturity and impartiality in dealing with the tragedy was moving and inspiring. The film could very easily have turned into a political piece but its success was contingent upon her display of diplomacy and dedication to honor journalism, not sensationalism.
An incredibly tear jerking and striking moment was Marianes reaction in the scene where she received the fateful news. Jolies characterization was so powerful and resonant it continued to linger in my mind long after the films end. Im sure boyfriend and producer Brad Pitt along with the real life Mrs. Pearl were as proud and afflicted as I was with her performance and honest depiction of the events. Rather than becoming consumed with hatred and bitterness, it was remarkable to see how a woman like Pearl survived and rose above a major paralyzing and devastating blow to her life. All in all, I believe Winterbottom did a fine job in directing an effective and significant film while providing drama, suspense and action. -- 7/10
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