A Mighty Heart
comes at the murder of journalist Daniel Pearl with a de-glamorised intensity: it's not a melodrama about Pearl's kidnapping and killing at the hands of Islamic terrorists, but a near-documentary about the process of trying to find him. Thus the centre of the film is not Pearl (Dan Futterman) but his wife Mariane (Angelina Jolie), a cool customer who manages--almost--to maintain her calm throughout the weeks-long ordeal. Director Michael Winterbottom is less overtly political here than in his Road to Guantanamo
, although the reactions of various authorities, from U.S. officials to local Pakistani cops, give the flavour of different attitudes and approaches. Jolie, playing the Dutch-Afro-Cuban Mariane Pearl, does nicely at playing her character's control (others marvel at her sangfroid), yet she remains recognisably human throughout. By no means a star turn, the movie leaves Mariane for long stretches, and other actors shine: Irfan Khan as a detective, Denis O'Hare as Daniel Pearl's Washington Post editor, and Will Patton as a stymied diplomat. As engrossing as the movie generally is, the point of emphasising the police-procedural method is sometimes obscure. Oddly enough, by rejecting the usual string-pulling of conventional Hollywood drama, A Mighty Heart
ends up without a strong point of view--as good as its pieces are. --Robert Horton
Stars Angelina Jolie as Mariane Pearl in an adaptation of her memoir about the kidnapping and murder of her journalist husband, Dani el Pearl, by Pakistani militants.