Mark Reviews Movies


2 ½ Stars (out of 4)

Director: Michael Winterbottom

Cast: Angelina Jolie, Dan Futterman, Archie Panjabi, Irfan Khan, Will Patton, Denis O'Hare, Gary Wilmes, Aly Khan

MPAA Rating:   (for language)

Running Time: 1:40

Release Date: 6/22/07

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Capsule review by Mark Dujsik

The investigation into the kidnapping of Wall Street Journal reporter Daniel Pearl in Pakistan is told with admirable attention to detail in A Mighty Heart. The script by John Orloff, based on the account by Pearl's wife Mariane and Sarah Crichton, plays like a procedural of the events, uncovering a vast conspiracy to hide persons involved and their motives. Director Michael Winterbottom similarly films in a docudrama style with handheld camerawork and grainy videography, and the result has a sense of immediacy but lacks intimacy. Pregnant Mariane (Angelina Jolie) and Daniel (Dan Futterman) are in Karachi, Pakistan in January 2002 so he can investigate Al Qaeda ties to shoe-bomber Richard Reid. When he disappears, Pakistani authorities led by Captain (Irfan Khan in a fine performance), a US consul security officer Randall Bennett (Will Patton), and the FBI become involved to find his kidnappers. The movie at first focuses on Mariane—the way she and housemate Asra (Archie Panjabi) try to tie the suspected people and the way she keeps a level head in spite of the constant dead ends. When the movie shifts focus to the investigation itself, it becomes clinical and distant. Jolie plays Mariane with utter conviction, keeping the suffering she's feeling suppressed until almost a month's worth of it erupts. The movie, though, doesn't enlighten us any further on the life of either of the Pearls and is instead too focused on events, timelines, and connections to find an emotional core to the story.

Copyright © 2007 by Mark Dujsik. All rights reserved.

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