Jewish brothers in Nazi-occupied Eastern Europe escape into the Belarussian forests, where they join Russian resistance fighters and endeavor to build a village in order to protect themselves and about 1,000 Jewish non-combatants.
On January 23, 2002, Wall Street Journal reporter Daniel Pearl is to fly from Karachi to Dubai with his pregnant wife, Mariane, also a reporter. On the day before, with great care, he has arranged an interview in a café with an Islamic fundamentalist cleric. When Danny doesn't return, Mariane initiates a search. Pakistani police, American embassy personnel, and the FBI examine witnesses, phone records, e-mails, and hard drives. Who has him? Where is he? There's also the why: because of U.S. abuse of prisoners at Guantanamo, because of a history of Journal cooperation with the CIA, because Pearl is a Jew? Through it all, Mariane is clearheaded, direct, and determined. Written by
Initially, the film was financed by Warner Brothers. After it backed out, Paramount Vantage stepped in. See more »
There are few billboards shown on the roads of Karachi, which were not imaginable in early 2002, i.e. Telenor Mobile Service (introduced in March 2005), Qarshi Jam-e-Shirin's latest campaign etc. See more »
[looking at a picture of her husband smiling while having a gun to his head]
He says "fuck you" to them.
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Many have trashed 'A Mighty Heart' deeming it a pointless film because the facts are already known and thus there was little suspense. However, I don't believe that that's what 'The Mighty Heart' is about. This isn't a from birth till death biopic. It particular looks at how the kidnapping of Daniel Pearl affects his wife and the people who desperately attempt to save him. It is more a character driven film rather than plot-oriented.
'The Mighty Heart' also succeeds because it goes against stereotype and the actors do a fascinating job of bringing them to screen. Mariane Pearl remains calm, focused and controlled throughout the entire chaotic ordeal. It is only upon hearing the news of her husband's fate that she explodes otherwise she keeps her cool all through, even after Pearl's death, she is composed and hopeful rather than broken down. Captain is an officer with genuine intentions to save Pearl. He's a practicing Muslim and not a Western hater. He loves his job, is passionate about it and his country and is revolted by what the terrorists have done. What makes the characters and their actions more effective is the fact that they were based on real people. Granted that 'The Mighty Heart' is a fictionalized account rather than a documentary but that does not take away the essence of how these people went about such a horrifying situation.
Winterbottom's directorial approach in presenting this account is commendable. It would have been very easy to make this look like a docudrama or a melodramatic farce but instead he cleverly manages to keep it well balanced and the emotions under control but still visible to the viewer. The viewer views the film like a concerned outsider. And, even though we know the outcome, we are concerned and overwhelmingly sympathetic for Mariane and her baby, for the team putting their efforts day and night to save her husband and for Daniel.
The various camera-work (handheld, close-ups, jump cuts) is impeccable. The glimpses and sounds of the heated and crowded Pakistani streets add to the tension. The characters react to a ringing cellphone expecting hope only to be let down.
Angelina Jolie dons a new simpler look and gives a very spirited performance. Her calmness and patience displays her strength but her eyes reveal a hint of despair and vulnerability. Archie Punjabi does an equally superb job as Daniel's friend. She skillfully downplays Asra's frustration, guilt and concern. The building friendship between Asra and Mariane is well demonstrated by these two actresses. In a way, 'A Mighty Heart' is about these two strong women who are brought close together by this ordeal. Irfan Khan delivers a wonderfully restrained performance and he shows his character's compassion, determination and frustration with remarkable ease. The supporting cast, that includes Will Patton and Dan Futterman, does an overall good job.
'A Mighty Heart' is a sincere account of a true tragic event. It's a strong woman's story of hope. Even after having gone through such a traumatic experience, Marianne comes out of it with her head high. She remains strong and patient. She does not turn hostile towards the Pakistani. In fact, she is aware that many unfortunate Pakistanis have experienced similar fate and expresses her compassion. She does not go on hating the world or the authorities. She is thankful and appreciative of all those who have fought with her. Remarkable.
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