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A Mighty Heart
2 reviews

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Movie Details

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Directed By
Michael Winterbottom

Written By:
Mariane Pearl, Sarah Crichton

Angelina Jolie, Dan Futterman, Jacob Gaffney, Demetri Goritsas, Irfan Khan, Denis O'Hare, Archie Panjabi, Will Patton, Aly Khan, Scott A. Stevens, Rana Haddad, Gary Wilmes, Zaayan Lala, Jillian Armenante, Jillian Armenante, Lisa Carnahan, Zachary Coffin, Kimberly Ensey, Edwin Reck, Christine Rose, Azfar Ali, San Banarje, Harvasp Chiniwala, Sajid Hasan, Mikail Lotia, Adnan Siddiqui

A Mighty Heart (2007)
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Movie Review by Jarrod
June 26th, 2007

Michael Winterbottom's last major film, Road to Guantanamo, was a provocative and haunting account of three young Muslim men arrested and detained at the infamous Cuban prison, automatically assumed to be terrorists in the immediate months following 9/11. That movie was overtly political, and made a powerful statement about a particularly troubling aspect of American foreign policy, and was critical also of military behavior towards suspected terrorists, telling at a time when torture was being used to extract information from them, the ethical debate about this was a major news story, along with the sickening spectacle at Abu Ghraib.

Now Winterbottom returns with A Mighty Heart, about Daniel Pearl, the journalist captured and beheaded by Pakistani militants back in 2002. Daniel is played here by Dan Futterman, who wrote Capote, also starred as Robin Williams's son in The Birdcage. We meet him only in flashbacks; the movie is primarily about his wife, Mariane, how she copes with his kidnapping, and her efforts to try to locate and rescue him. This is not something she does on her own, she works with others, including friends and colleagues, like Asra (Panjabi), a journalist like her and Daniel. We learn a little bit about why Daniel went to Pakistan, but that is about all we learn about him. Sadly, we never feel any real connection to him, because he does not show up very often, and we don't really know what happens to him while in captivity.

Mariane, on the other hand, becomes intimately familiar to us, and we share her grief and agony, and hope, though that emotion may be false, since we know Daniel's fate. Jolie is excellent, disappearing into her character after just a few minutes, and always convincing, with genuine, almost heartbreaking emotional intensity in some scenes. This is one of her best performances. I expected more of a docudrama, but really, the movie is more like a thriller, though a thriller that cannot generate any suspense since the outcome of the whole event is already known, and is inevitable. The camerawork is jarring, adding a sense of immediacy and authenticity, shot in a way that made feel, at times, like what I was seeing was really happening right then and there, like in United 93. Good, but not great, Road to Guantanamo is better, and strangely, A Mighty Heart is rather apolitical, and Winterbottom is content just to tell a story, one based on Mariane's own memoir. I sense he really feels a connection to this tragedy.

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Movie Addict
Jun 27, 2007 8:09 PM
also wrote a review of A Mighty Heart
I am hoping to see this soon. Unfortunately it hasn't reached the hinterland yet.

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