Sharon Reviews A Mighty Heart

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For those of you who don’t know A Mighty Heart is based upon one of the first of an unfortunate stream of violent kidnappings of American journalists and civilians that have begun happening since 9/11. It focuses on kidnapped Journalists Daniel Pearl and his wife and her support system during this time, it also shows how the authorities work with this growing problem in the world.

It is directed by Michael Winterbotom, and written by John Orlof and Mariane Pearl. It stars Angelina Joilie as Mariane Pearl, Dan Futterman as Daniel Pearl, Archie Panjabi, Irfan Khan, and Jillian Armenante.

A Mighty Heart delves into an area of terrorism that the media had so over publicized that I wasn’t sure I would learn anything new in this film, this was not the case, it was quite interesting and made me consider the spider web network of people who are involved with kidnappings. The movie also put a lot of focus on what a family goes through when a kidnapping occurs.

What Mariane Pearl, as a journalist did when her husband went missing was try to connect the dots, to try and find the father of their soon to born child. And while that part of the story is interesting intellectually it is a bit lacking emotionally. This is not from lack of effort but more I think from Winterbottom’s style of directing, for me things are just a little too removed.

Jolie is so quiet in this role. From some I have heard glowing reviews on her performance and I can see the effort coming through her to honor the real Mariane Pearl with her work. It obviously meant a lot to her to portray Pearl correctly and it shows; her voice is changed, the French accent is there, she moves softly and with the quiet dignity of a mother in waiting, it is all there… except Jolie.

What is missing from this performance is what makes Jolie famous after so many flops, that Angelina Jolie “je ne sais quoi” is missing. I’m not saying that she should have been a wild woman or anything but an actor should bring a little of themselves to every role, and in this performance Angelina has left the building.

Luckily this film does no lack a good supporting cast. By far my favorite character are the two Pakistan detectives on the case. Their story is fascinating, two bright men trying to make Americans see that Pakistan is a better place than it was, that they takes care of their tourists and journalists. The pride and ferocity these two charismatic detectives take in this task is impressive. As is the performance of Irfan Khan, the more senior detective. He simultaneously shows compassion, kindness, brilliance and brutality in just the few short scenes he is in, this film could have used a lot more of him.

Also impressive was Mariane Pearl’s friend Asra Nomani played by Archie Panjabi. She exudes warmth and intelligence with a strong desire to remain respected as a progressive Muslim woman, she succeeds beautifully. The passion in her eyes when she is convincing people to help Mariane is truly engaging, she is totally real in this role.

Overall this movie is interesting and informative, but a little dry, the acting is for the most part is strong but the movie drags a lot in the beginning and when it does finally start to pick up the pace in the final act I was a little tired. One a scale of one to ten I give it a 6.5, for a no, go or routh, I’d say go, but to rent it, or on a day when you are awake and feeling up to a heavy subject.

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