Originally posted 2007
Paramount / 103 minutes / reg 4
Angelina Jolie, Dan Futterman, Irrfan Khan, Archie Panjabi, Will Paton
This very moving true life story of the murder of Wall Street Journal reporter Daniel Pearl (as seen through the eyes of his wife Mariane) is another quality piece of film making from director Michael Winterbottom, definitely one of the most important talents working in cinema today.
In a change of pace, Angelina Jolie plays Marianne Pearl who, in 2002, launches a desperate search for answers when her husband is kidnapped by islamic terrorists. The couple are in Karachi, Pakistan to investigate bomber Richard Reid but Daniel soons finds himself in the crossfire of militant islamic fighters and simply disappears whilst en route to a meeting at a restaurant. Marianne then faces a five week quest to dsicover if her husband is alive or dead.
Shot in the hyper realistic doco style that Winterbottom often favours A Mighty Heart is an ultimately stirring treatise on the nature of courage and hope. Jolie (playing a woman who was actually half Dutch and half Afro Cuban!) is a revelation, we all know she can actually act, she is an Oscar winner after all, but it is such a rarity to see her playing outside of range that it does occasionally come as a surprise when she is so good. Although the movie is about Daniel Pearl it is Marianne who is its real mighty heart, its strong centre. Winterbottom is the perfect choice for director too, in lesser hands this could have ended up as a genre chase thriller piece, but always one to avoid sensationalism Winterbottom makes it a real emotional journey.
A movie of quality in every way, we almost find time to praise the performance of the always brilliant (and definitely under rated) Archie Punjabi as a colleague of Pearl’s who helps Mairanne co-ordinate the search.
Extras include a strong behind the scenes making of doco called A Journey of Passion, a public service announcement from the Pearl foundation with Christiane Amanpour and a look at the commitee to protect journalists.