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Movie Review: A Mighty Heart

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I am sure that most of you are familiar with the story of Daniel Pearl, the Wall Street Journal reporter who was kidnapped, very likely tortured, and finally beheaded by Al Qaeda terrorists in Pakistan. Five years after the brutal and pointless event, director Michael Winterbottom brings the story to the big screen.

It was with some trepidation that I sat down to watch this movie; the potential for a two hour festival of gore was looming large. My fears were completely unfounded. The movie is based on Mariane Pearl's (Daniel's wife) book of the same title. The sad events surrounding this inhuman and unnecessary piece of recent history are viewed through her eyes. The director has done a fine job of neither glorifying nor gorifying the story.

Angela Jolie plays a convincing and totally believable role as the distraught and frustrated Mariane. In the scene where she finally learns of her husband's brutal death, Jolie produces some of the best acting I have seen in a very long time. While this movie was in the production stage there was lots of 'grumbling' from the 'experts' about how Jolie did not have the depth to play this part. Well the 'experts' were wrong.

Daniel Pearl is played by Dan Futterman, and a fine job he does. We get to meet Danny mostly through flashbacks from happier times. We walk away knowing that he was a loving husband, and a ‘dog with a bone’ when it came to a news story. Maybe the saddest part of this whole story is that the Pearls were due to leave Pakistan the day after Danny was kidnapped, Mariane was six months pregnant and it was time to leave. A Mighty Heart also explores some concepts that we in the west may not be familiar with — the huge rift between Pakistan and India, and maybe even more interesting, a brief look into the Al Qaeda organization, and how it uses ‘compartments’ — if you break into one, you do not break into the next.

A Mighty Heart is rated R for strong language, but even with that edited out, it is not a movie for youngsters. It is very deep, and very sad. It opened on June 22, and I think it will do very well indeed.

Even though this is not a chick flick, my co-reviewer Jan (my wife) and I give this one two wet hankies!

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About Simon Barrett

  • daryl d

    Thanks for the review. I’m tempted to see this one, though I don’t like Angelina Jolie.