Monday, July 2, 2007

Powerful and Appropriate: A Mighty Heart

A Mighty Heart
Directed by Michael Winterbottom
Released June 22, 2007

This is the film version of the story of the tragic murder of Daniel Pearl, a U.S. journalist captured and murdered in Pakistan. This story centers around Mariane Pearl, Daniel's wife, a journalist herself who tries desperately to find her missing husband. This kind of subject is very sensitive and tricky to pull off without offending many people. Luckily, the end result here is most comparable to "United 93", last year's dramatization of the hijacked 9/11 flight where the passengers fought back. The material is treated very delicately, with no unnecessary theatrics or big-name actors who distract from the based-on-truth plot. While Angelina Jolie, the only "big-name" star in the cast, did not completely blow me away as Mariane, she was generally pretty good. The best member of the cast has to be Irrfan Khan, as the CID Captain investigating Daniel's kidnapping, fresh off of an unenthusiastic turn in "The Namesake." He really gives it his all here in a subtle but excellent performance. The film feels a bit long after only an hour and 48 minutes, but the editing is sharp and the cinematography feels very real. The stark look of the film adds the reality, and it is an all-around impressive effort from all involved. Most impressive is the dramatic impact of the film made possible wisely without the inclusion of actual footage of the murder.


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