A Mighty Heart (2007) Poster

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8/10
Don't hold it in…A Mighty Heart
jaredmobarak25 June 2007
Warning: Spoilers
The story of Daniel Pearl is a tragic one. I remember following it all on the news until the fateful day of his horrific beheading. Just imagining what his family and friends could have been thinking during the whole ordeal is tough to fathom, but when his wife is there with him in Pakistan, pregnant with his first child, your heart must go out to them. Pearl's widow, Mariane, used her journalistic skills to write a novel on what transpired from his kidnapping to eventual murder. Her words are, I'm sure, haunting and filled with an unbearable amount of love, both lost and strengthened. To have the courage to allow that story be told to the world is amazing. Director Michael Winterbottom is definitely the man to be trusted with such material and he does not let us down here with A Mighty Heart.

Being a story of nonfiction that so many people know, it takes a bit of craft and ingenuity to make it fresh and interesting to the audience. Winterbottom, as a result, shoots the film hand-held and up-close with numerous cut-ins of actual news footage for added realism. The editing of documentary stock with the actors portraying our leads, both in the present and in flashbacks to the past, is expertly handled. There are no missteps visually at all as Winterbottom knows how to evoke emotion with economy. When the men on the search for Pearl finally confront the atrocity, it is in their reactions to the video that makes us understand the brutality. We don't need to be shown the carnage because the faces of these men say it all.

Give credit to Angelina Jolie for coming into this project with dedication and professionalism. Her real life persona is nonexistent as she is fully taken over by Mariane Pearl. Her accent is impeccable, especially watching scenes where emotions take over and yet the accent still never falters. She embodied the strength that allowed Pearl to deal with the days and weeks desperately seeking answers. It all culminates in a heart-wrenching moment of grief and release of all the feelings she refused to let take over until absolutely necessary. I was completely impressed by her performance.

The other actors are fantastic as well. Dan Futterman plays Danny Pearl with integrity and love; he was a fearless man who believed in his job and the search for truth. Irfan Khan follows up his brilliant turn in The Namesake with another solid role as the police captain, and Denis O'Hare, Will Patton, and Archie Panjabi are wonderful as others trying their hardest to get through it all. This is not a vanity project for Jolie as there is a good portion in the middle of the film where she disappears. The movie's supporting cast does an admirable job in never letting it falter without the one character in the middle of it all.

Much like United 93, A Mighty Heart is a story that is tough to experience, but also one needing to be seen. There are few things that I can say went wrong with the film, and although I may never have the necessity to view it again, I'm glad I took the time to sit down with this tale of hope, compassion, and life in the midst of devastating tragedy.
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8/10
The Might of Truth
Joseph Belanger23 June 2007
Telling the truth is generally considered to be the first step on the path to righteousness. It brings redemption to some and relieves the guilt of others. Many people have a hard time accepting the truth when faced with it. That difficulty in dealing is perhaps the main reason some run far away from the truth altogether. Given how troubling facing the truth can be in everyday reality, being subjected to it in celluloid on the big screen is a very hard sell. This is even more relevant when the film in question is based on an event that was played out to the point of emotional exhaustion in the media. (Just ask the producers of UNITED 93.) This is the plight of A MIGHTY HEART, an adaptation of Mariane Pearl's novel of the same name, about her experiences during the search for her kidnapped husband, Daniel Pearl, in the winter of 2002. For director Michael Winterbottom, this is only the beginning though. Assuming he manages to get people to see the film, (casting Angelina Jolie in the role or Marian Pearl certainly doesn't hurt the film's chances), Winterbottom must then get people to forget that they know how it's all going to end.

Winterbottom is too smart to go against the grain. Instead, he uses the audience's prior knowledge of the story to incite an even deeper emotional reaction. He begins by establishing his style. A MIGHTY HEART is not a documentary but rather a fictionalized reenactment of actual events that is shot and edited like a documentary. There are no talking heads but the camera is an active participant in the drama that unfolds. Hand-held movement, jump cuts and an omnipresent observer's point of view lend realism to the film's already tense premise. For those who aren't aware, Jewish-American journalist, Daniel Pearl (played here by CAPOTE scribe, Dan Futterman) was kidnapped in Pakistan in January of 2002. The violent act became an international scandal as the group that claimed responsibility for the crime demanded the liberation of prisoners from American detainee prison, Guantanamo Bay, in Cuba. The American government does not give in to the terrorists' demands. It doesn't end well. The film focuses on the efforts made by Mariane, the Pakistani police, the C.I.A. and the journalistic community throughout the search for Daniel. Knowing Daniel doesn't live through the ordeal and that this search is fruitless may leave the audience without hope but the dedication and fervor with which the case is attacked carries enough hope to inspire an overwhelming sympathy that sinks our hearts when what we know is coming actually comes.

A blustering soundscape and tightly framed street and crowd shots elevate stress levels to unimagined heights. Mariane is alone in a foreign country, searching for the most important person in her life. Knowing the odds are against her, holding on to hope becomes all the more complicated when she is surrounded by strangers, traffic and the sounds of incessant honking, cell phones and random farm animals. The chaos is absolutely inescapable. Yet still, Mariane must remain calm. After all, she is the heart of this operation. If her heart fails, all hope is lost and all efforts will fall apart. Jolie exhibits both outer strength and inner fragility at the same time as Mariane. She is direct and focused in face of this horrific reality, holding it together for Daniel, herself and her unborn child but Jolie's distant eyes and suddenly fidgeted demeanor suggest just how difficult maintaining all this composure truly is. Being a journalist herself, Mariane's most endearing quality is perhaps her ability to remain hopeful in spite of all the horror she has known in her own career without coming across as naïve. Jolie's balancing act upon such a tightly wound rope is truly genuine in both its intention and execution.

Any movie entitled A MIGHTY HEART cannot spend all its time entrenched in fact. After all, there is a delicate, growing love between Daniel and Mariane that is also being held prisoner. This love though cannot be held captive and gives life to hope. Their love comes back to Mariane in flashes throughout her suffering. Insignificant moments like the last time they saw each other take on new meanings, making the loss feel larger while still reminding her what she is fighting to find. The truth behind A MIGHTY HEART is that it takes one to live through something like this and, more importantly, live past it.
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8/10
A love story with politics surprisingly absent
Michael Fargo22 June 2007
This is an intimate film. Basically a love story set in the political wreckage after the attack on the World Trade Center. As such, we don't get much detail about the different factions in Pakistan or who is "good" or "bad." It's the story of a couple who find themselves being used by terrorists and whether it is mere coincidence because they are Westerners or whether more specific points are being made because Daniel Pearl is Jewish aren't really explored, a wide variety of explanations are offered. Instead, as a backdrop to the suspense and the couple's relationship, we get a visual poem of life in Islamabad and Karachi, which I found beautiful, fascinating and more than just a little frightening. These are not cities for people with claustrophobia.

With the story beginning the day of Daniel Pearl's kidnapping, his character is fleshed out only through flashback or what others say about him, as well as the devotion of all who search to rescue him. I doubt few will go to this film without knowing the outcome. I suppose some fans of Ms. Jolie might attend and find themselves unaware of the events portrayed in the movie. So Winterbottom has his work cut out for him since most in the audience know the conclusion.

As Mariane Pearl, Angelina Jolie gives a remarkable, restrained performance. Her face is a mask and emotion is communicated almost exclusively through her eyes. It's the gift of a remarkable talent for the screen. I don't know how anyone could have been better. Others in the cast, too, are notable: Archie Panjabi holds her own with Jolie whenever they're together on the screen. It's a particularly complicated role since she becomes the target of the Pakistani press as the reason for Pearl's abduction, and her guilt, bafflement and frustration give the film added suspense. And Irfan Khan, the pivotal Pakistani investigator—in a role that could have been clichéd—brings an urgency to his character that earned my sympathy for succeeding in what must have been an impossible task. The film opens with Mariane Pearl describing Karachi as the World's second largest city and her husband was trying to meet with one man…how impossible it must be to find a single person in such a large place. That proves prophetic as Irfan Kahn then has to find Daniel Pearl.

The growing alarm of the first night of Pearl's abduction is particularly well done by both the director and actors.

I'm a little shocked by others' comment here that the Pearl's shouldn't have been "doing what they were doing" or because they put themselves in a dangerous situation we should somehow feel less sympathetic. I'm ashamed that such comments could be made in the face of this tragedy.
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Mighty Truth Of Courage, Compassion And Patience
Chrysanthepop12 August 2008
Warning: Spoilers
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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5/10
Jolie good. Script a disservice to Daniel Pearl.
jwise4225 June 2007
Warning: Spoilers
It's a moving film, and Jolie plays the wife of the assassinated journalist well. She'll probably win a deserved nod for an award. But the script falls short in a most important way.

Daniel Pearl was not kidnapped and beheaded because he was Jewish (which the movie's script tells us he was). One more time, mainstream media/film-makers block the truth of 9/11.

Pearl was a journalist with a major U.S. publication chasing a breaking story for who was behind the attacks. It was January 2002--what else would he be doing?! The movie makes an abstract mention of the $100,000 wired to Mohammed Atta but then drops it. So the truth of what he was investigating and why he was killed is trivialized.

(In real life--which this movie pretends to portray) Omar Shiekh, who wired the $100,000 to Mohammed Atta, the Al Qaeda bag-man in Florida, was an undercover ISI agent (verified). The ISI (Pakistan's intelligence) is a so tight with the CIA, they're often referred to and thought of as the same agency in Pakistan. During the week of 9/11, ISI Chief General Ahmad was on an official visit in the US meeting with the Pentagon, the National Security Council, CIA Chief Tenet, a couple of Senate Intelligence Committee members, and Deputy Secretary of State, Richard Armitage. (all a matter of public record)

Sometimes Hollywood is ahead of the rest of us, and at least sneaks in truth and consequences. Daniel Pearl was investigating the ISI, their connection to the CIA, and the $100,000, and that was why he was kidnapped and assassinated.

"A Mighty Heart" is a missed opportunity to be a really good film because they omitted the heart of the story. Mrs. Pearl's heart must be 'heart-sick.'

Having lived and worked in India and Pakistan, I did enjoy the reality captured in the street scenes.
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Compelling movie making
Tony4323 June 2007
Warning: Spoilers
Michael Winterbottom's "A Mighty Heart" is probably the most important film released so far in 2007. And it will probably be the most controversial this whole year, saddled as it is with political implications that could make it the target of activists on both the left and the right.

Surprisingly enough, the movie is almost politics free. The basic story we all know. Wall Street Journal reporter Daniel Pearl disappears while trying to tie up one last interview about terrorism while on assignment in Pakistan. From there, his pregnant wife Mariane, their close friends, and various branches of various governments pull out all the stops to find him, but don't get there in time. Pearl is beheaded by his terrorist captors.

While the questions about politics could have dominated this story, it is much more of a police procedural, focusing for the most part on how you track down criminals in a city as crowded as Karachi, Pakistan. And incidentally, the film does a magnificent job of creating a time and place in an Asian city most Americsns know nothing about.

Politics hardly comes into play, although the story does touch on the topic at various places along the way, noting Pearl was a Jew in a country that was a hotbed for Islamic extremism; that there are consequences to US policies around the world, including the operation of the prison camp at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.

But the politics virtually fly by in this film.

For its actually the story of Mariane Pearl and how she holds up as she takes a very active role in the search for her husband, but must take it from her home, because she is very pregnant with their first child and can't go out and kick in doors herself.

The real political fireworks here are over the performance of Angelina Jolie. Many of us have long suspected that she is among the best actresses around today, but her talent is too often buried in mindless spectacle films.

Here, Jolie delivers not her standard tough girl performance, a staple of her early career, but a very nuanced portrayal of a woman who has to be strong in order to lead the effort to free her husband. So she holds it in -- literally everything including at one point her urine. That makes her occasional explosions very expected. But the final eruption, when she learns her husband really has been murdered, is one of the most shattering scenes in recent film memory.

Some people, though, won't like this picture because they don't like Jolie, for all kinds of reasons. Some spout nonsense about her not being black, yet playing a woman who is black, even though the real life Mariane Pearl is French, considers herself of multi-ethnic background, and asked Angelina to play her. Others on the right attack Jolie for everything from adopting orphaned kids to visiting war refugee camps, all of which they associate with liberal Hollywood and thus adoption and caring about refugees must be evil.

Hopefully, most people will ignore both sides, for this picture is more about how one stands up in times of crisis than anything else. If this movie was a crisis, Jolie stands up well. She'll probably get a best actress nomination for this role and she deserves it. See the movie.
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8/10
Mighty hard to watch
Ken Vandenbussche11 October 2007
Angelina Jolie is not just a beautiful woman and the daughter of actor Jon Voight, she is also an incredibly versatile actress. This Oscar-winning beauty is one of those few who is just as comfortable starring in big blockbusters as in emotional dramas. She takes every part very seriously.

Jolie is close friends with Mariane Pearl, the journalist wife of slain Wall Street Journal reporter Daniel Pearl (played by Dan Futterman). She is the author of "A Mighty Heart: The Brave Life and Death of My Husband Danny Pearl" (on which the film is based) and wanted the actress to portray her. Because Angelina Jolie is a true method-actress - she added dark ringlets, a pregnancy bump and speaks with Pearl's Cuban-French accent. The outcome is simply outstanding! It's about as genuine as any acting performance can get. It's obvious that Jolie didn't want to settle for anything less. She has the utmost respect for Mariane Pearl and the tragedy she went through. And she wanted to translate this amount of respect into her acting.

The amazing thing about this semi-documentary film is that it manages to keep such a hopeful spirit even though we are already aware of what lies ahead. Reporter Danny Pearl is going to die by the hands of Pakistani extremists yet somehow we still keep the faith. On top of that: a good deal of the movie is shot with a hand-held camera and this technique builds the tension especially during the torture/interrogation scenes. It almost feels as though we are present during the entire ordeal. When the terrible news finally comes out that Mariane's husband has been slaughtered mercilessly, the screaming of Angelina Jolie is so realistic and painful that it brought instant tears to my eyes.

In short: A beautiful homage to a horrifying true story with a terrific Angelina Jolie.
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7/10
Powerful yet human
kxok63026 June 2007
This is one of the more intelligent and well constructed movies of 2007 thus far. Touching on the human element as it collides with the unpleasant realities of hot-bed issues including politics and religion, the brutality and evil this story depicts is at times difficult to watch.

Difficult to watch because the content is disturbing, which is the intent of the film. We see a very human dimension to the real life characters who are depicted sensitively, making the grotesque outcome all the more horrifying. The story is fair to the innocent parties involved, and honest in rightfully assigning the blame to those responsible for these heinous acts. Dramatically and artistically, this is a superior movie.

Angelina Jolie's portrayal of Mariane Pearl feels sincere, but she appears miscast. Little dimension is brought to her real-life subject, a woman inexorably thrust into the limelight amidst painful circumstances. The film would have been better off with another actress in this challenging role.

Still, the movie is outstanding, and worthy of your time.
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9/10
"I just want to tell him that I love him"
screenwriter-1422 June 2007
MIGHTY HEART is an important film with a tremendous performance from Angelina Jolie and a superb cast that joins her on screen in a story that captures the fear of terrorism which we live with today. From the first frame to the final scene, the power of the camera which moves across the streets of Karachi and into the homes of its citizens, creates a pulse that moves the film forward with both excitement, dread and fear. Fear for not only Daniel Pearl's life, but for many victims of the destructive nature of terrorism the world over.

The film is intelligent, suspenseful, and captures the world of technology which we live in today-cell phones, IP addresses, computers and laptops and the internet-which connects us to both good and evil. There is an anti-American underlying theme in the film and through what America has done in both Afghanistan and Iraq, the audience can fathom the hatred felt for America in many parts of the world. Thus, MIGHTY HEART is a film which delivers both a tragic story, but also one for the United States of America as it continues the violent war in Iraq.
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9/10
Under-appreciated.
neverblue730 June 2007
First off, I must say something about Angelina Jolie: she gave an admirable and heartfelt performance in this wonderful film and does NOT in any way deserve all the terrible things people have accused her and the filmmakers of doing, namely being racist and engaging in "blackfacing." Mariane Pearl requested Jolie to portray her, and that is that. This is a heartbreaking film that does not make us pity Mariane Pearl but allows us to admire her for her strength and courage. Although the film brought tears to my eyes, it is not one of those sob stories with the intention of being a tear-jerker. It is not overly brutal either, showing the trauma of the event as experienced by Mariane Pearl without putting the full-blown horror of it on the audience unnecessarily. Great supporting performances also from Archie Panjabi and Irfan Khan.
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10/10
Powerful
Faraz M23 June 2007
The movie is brilliant. Michale Winterbottom has done an amazing job to give the real feel to the movie. It is not a glossy painted Hollywood drama. Every character has done justice to their role, specially Angelina Jolie, who was brilliant.

The movie is shot in a way that artfully places the viewer into the chaos of Karachi As it unfolded, I could not shake the impression that this film would be a career-making achievement for Jolie; without apology, it is simultaneously an unabashedly political vehicle that does not fall victim to sloganeering or jingoism, as well as an effective and gripping re-telling of a story that is still fresh in the minds of the audience. I know a lot of people are criticizing the movie.. but the best thing about this movie was it does not points finger on anyone. The movie made me think about the time we are living in. It is a movie about a pain and struggle of women who lost her husband. Just go and watch the movie with an open mind ... we need to stop pointing fingers and just try to become a better person.
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8/10
Respectful Treatment Of A Tragedy
sddavis6320 September 2008
Essentially what we have here is a pretty well done, seemingly step by step account of the investigation into the kidnapping of Wall Street Journal reporter Daniel Pearl in 2002, which of course ended with his tragic murder. It is not without weaknesses. Primarily, watching close to two hours about an investigation that doesn't seem to be going anywhere and eventually accomplishes nothing gets a bit dry after a while - especially because we know how this is going to end. There comes a point when you just want to fast forward through it to the end. Having said that, the strengths definitely outweigh the weaknesses.

Director Michael Winterbottom does a pretty good job of establishing atmosphere. From the very beginning, the chaotic nature of Karachi sets a foreboding tone to the movie, and, although I sometimes find archival footage in movies to be of little use, in "A Mighty Heart" I thought Winterbottom did a pretty good job of blending the archival stuff (particularly clips of Colin Powell and Pervez Musharaff) into the story. Throughout the movie the viewer wonders how Pearl's murder is going to be portrayed, and, again, kudos to Winterbottom. In fact, and thankfully, the murder isn't portrayed at all. What we see are the reactions of those who see the video for the first time and their reactions to the ghastly scene on the tape is sufficient to establish what happened. There was (to me at least) an interesting scene that lasted only a couple of minutes dealing with a typical "ugly American" female FBI agent, who bursts into the Pearl home, ignores the Pakistani authorities, tries to take charge and orders the room "cleared" because she gets a phone call she wants no one else to hear. She disappears immediately after this scene and was never seen again. I just for some reason found it rather typical of how I would expect U.S. authorities to act in a foreign country, and her portrayal was, of course, balanced by the very sympathetic portrayal of the kindhearted Randall Bennett (Will Randall) - an official from the U.S. Embassy who provides great support to Mariane Pearl.

Angelina Jolie was, I understand, a bit of a controversial choice for the part (largely for ethnic reasons) but she put on an excellent performance as Mariane, hopelessly lost in the situation, pregnant with Daniel's baby and totally dependent on others to try to save her husband. Her reaction to the news of Daniel's death was raw with emotion. Ethnic controversy aside, no one can deny that Jolie was superb in this role. Her performance and Winterbottom's direction make the movie worthwhile. 8/10
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9/10
Universal acceptance and cross cultural dignity
ari_kranios7 November 2007
Warning: Spoilers
The one line that hit me during the last section of this film was: "Will your opinion of the Pakistanis change, now that your husband has been reported dead." This is what the entire movie is about for me. Jolie's character withstands cultural criticism and insists that terrorists exist all over the world and find weakness in every and any place where there is pain. She does not accept murder as a means of making a political statement. Her character never judged anyone for the kidnapping or the murder of her husband. And that is the message to walk out with. Terrorists seem to think that they can send messages through murder and torture but if you open your eyes and see beyond that, you will be able to discover that what these horrible people are depending on is that you and I will fall to their level and start thinking of murder as a political message. A wonderful performance by Jolie, but more importantly a wonderfully composed and edited film that weaves in a out of a story that unfolded not only into a political but more importantly a human drama.
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8/10
Angelina's Performance Is Terrific, But She Rarely Appears!
nanthonyjudek23 June 2007
Despite the controversy amongst IMDb users concerning Academy Award Winner Angelina Jolie's ability to play a French woman of Afro-Cuban and Dutch ancestry, the truth is that she does a tremendous job despite her minimal screen time. In some of the stills from the film, her skin almost does appear darkened (despite all reports that it was not), but in the actual film, she is as light as ever. There is no visible difference in her skin's color or complexion and her casting should not be the reason for which this film gets recognized. Instead, it should be recognized for the terrific performances all around and Michael Winterbottom's genius direction. Also, I'm a sucker for queasy camera work. The film itself is merely decent as it becomes a bit boring during all the commotion of searching for Danny Pearl, but the performances truly are something to see. Dan Futterman's performance is as amazing as Jolie's, but he probably has about less than ten lines of dialogue throughout the film, despite the fact that the film and all the other characters revolve completely around him (he's even first billed in the end credits). Futterman's performance shows skill and his chemistry with Angelina Jolie is beautiful, but it is Jolie and Irrfan Khan who will hopefully get lucky come January's Academy Award nominations (or even February's wins). All the hustle and bustle leads up to the tour-de-force performance of Jolie as Pearl in the sparse climax scene. Her reaction brought me to tears (a rarity in the films I watch, and I watch films constantly). It is finally time that audiences will remember how talented she really is, despite being overshadowed by her publicity and her performances in films like "Alexander." I hope her performance here brings her a second Oscar nomination and (pardon my bias) a second win. The only demerits in the film are the boredom brought on by the search when, in my own humble opinion, scenes of Danny's friends and family (past and present) would have made the ending more heart-wrenching, the only word to truly describe the real-life tragedy. Overall, a well-made film that anyone should check out.
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7/10
A very good film and Angelina Jolie is an actress
happyjuanpa14 June 2007
I just saw this film and I really liked. The story is very well told from the point of view of a professional journalist who has to experience with integrity and courage the whole process of losing her husband. I think Angelina Jolie makes AN EXCELLENT JOB. Many times I forgot was the sexy actress, and reminded me several great parts she have achieved in her career, including an Academy award. There is not any importance or relevance that she is a white woman developing an African woman... She is an actress. Until when we are going to play with racial issue. In many countries Hamlet is not from Denmark or Othello is not always a black actor, or Don Giovanni is not an Italian. The directing and several acting in this film are great. And the development of the film showing constantly the misery of this country to understand better their political situation and fanaticism.

It;s very comfortable to enjoy this film and going out in cities where we have so much comforts. I connected with Marianne Pearl, I felt I was with her watching her experience.
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2/10
Less is less
morbels7 October 2007
I was very disappointed after seeing this movie. In theory this could have been a strong, political drama. Instead it became a pointless sequence of rather boring events. The camera is mostly handled in a documentary style. This gives the movie a certain realistic feeling but unfortunately, this does not endorse the story, simply because there is no story, no real plot, no evolution in it. The result is 100 minutes of atmosphere, trying to hide a very weak plot with no layers or subplots. It seems the director never asked himself if watching this film a nice experience. To me it was not.

This film was not able to touch me (the attempt of being emotionally touching was way too obvious), it was not intellectually challenging (the message is simple and mundane), it was never funny and there was no real tension because it was very slow and the film leaves the public absolutely uninformed about the odds for some plot change. Which never comes.

Summarized, this could have been nice as a short movie (30 minutes at max) that shows the story as it is: somewhat tragic, yet uncomplicated. As a viewer, I registered what happened, but the events had no function in the greater whole. They were simply events. Rather irrelevant ones, really. I almost fell asleep and to me it was a waste if time and money.

Sometimes less is more. In this movie, less is just less. You have been warned.
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7/10
interesting drama that could use some fleshing out
Roland E. Zwick7 September 2008
Warning: Spoilers
Daniel Pearl was, of course, the foreign correspondent for the "Wall Street Journal" who was kidnapped and brutally executed by a group of Muslim jihadists whom he had sought out for an interview in early 2002. His wife, Marianne, also a journalist and pregnant with their child at the time, later went on to publish a chronicle of that event, appropriately entitled "A Mighty Heart."

Adapted by John Orloff and starring Angelina Jolie and Dan Futterman in the principal roles, the movie of the same name chronicles the efforts of Marianne and those around her to uncover her husband's whereabouts and to try to rescue him before the terrorists have the chance to make good on their threat to liquidate him, if their demands - for improved conditions for the prisoners being held at Guantanamo Bay - are not met. Directed by Michael Winterbottom, the movie does a solid job recreating the step-by-step process by which those working on the case were able to identify, and even apprehend, some of the captors. But so intent is the movie on exploring every last detail of the search that the characters themselves tend to fall by the wayside at times. This includes Marianne who, beautifully as Jolie embodies her, often winds up being shunted off to the side when she should be taking center stage and making us care deeply about her and the plight she is facing. The format of the story is such that we are given only brief glimpses of Marianne and Daniel together and, in each case, they are invariably shown as deliriously happy and passionately in love, which no doubt they were, but it doesn't allow for much shading or depth in the relationship.

The movie is, of course, heartbreaking in its final scenes, as the story works its way to its foreordained tragic conclusion and Marianne is left to pick up the pieces of her shattered life. Yet, the extraordinary courage that both Daniel and Marianne display in being willing to put their own lives at risk in confronting the injustices of the world leaves the audience with a feeling of hope for the future.

Thus, despite its weaknesses of characterization and drama, "A Mighty Heart" still manages to move us in the end.
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9/10
Jolie in her prime since winning the Oscar deserves another for her stoic, fierce portrait in courage
george.schmidt27 June 2007
Warning: Spoilers
A MIGHTY HEART (2007) ***1/2 Angelina Jolie, Dan Futterman, Archie Panjabi, Irfan Khan, Will Patton, Denis O' Hare. Absorbing, first-rate adaptation of the book based on Mariane Pearl's (Jolie, in her best work since she won the Oscar and deserving another nod here for her stoic, fierce performance), book about the horrible kidnapping and ultimate murder of her husband (and fellow journalist) Daniel (Futterman does his best in fleeting flashback heavy sequences) who was abducted by terrorists in Pakistan. Filmmaker Michael Winterbottom and screenwriter John Orloff eschew Hollywood theatrics for straightforward and intelligent with a very well produced storyline and a fine ensemble cast particularly Indian actor Khan as "the Captain", a local policeman spearheading the grim task of saving the doomed writer. One of the year's best films.
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7/10
Political views aside
Taking away how others may view the Pearle's story and the question of whether or not the family should have been there in the first place, the story was excellent in conveying the emotions felt throughout the whole search of Daniel. Those who are opposed to the purpose of Daniel Pearle being there after 9/11 even with other journalists vacating will only enter and leave the theater wondering if Mariane is trying to give more credit to her husband then what people expect. It's important to walk into this movie with an open mind so that the story will be more real. Major kudos to the creators of this film for bringing a new view on a part of American history that seemed so easily cast aside.
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1/10
Inert movie provides vehicle for Jolie
mitchabramson28 June 2007
As a Jew who has lived many years in Israel, and am passionately involved in correcting anti-Israeli propaganda, I found the movie curiously unaffecting. There is not a single scene of Jolie in which u r not aware she is the beautiful icon. You can see why she wanted the part: Happy, nervous, sad, anguished; all the emotional range an actress could dream for: each with her perfect curls and lighting to show her beauty. The movie is a whirlwind of frenzied cuts which show life in Kerachi, but there's nothing else really: leads, phone calls, emails, we all know what the end will be, so ultimately, there's really nothing here outside of Jolie's beautiful face. Not only is there no controversy, it's relatively tame: Jolie utters some nonsense about misery giving rise to Muslim extremism. It's the extremism that gives rise to the misery, dear. There's no relationship between poverty and radical Islam. Lastly, by leaving out the beheading, the movie sanitizes itself and makes Pearl's death less than it was. The death itself was something Pearl could give as example of Islamic madness, but there's no guts here. No great acting either. Jolie is MORE than Mrs. Pearl; she is Angelina Jolie, swamping the role with her presence, and having a great time acting while looking beautiful.
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4/10
A Mighty Star Turn
mjjusa-122 June 2007
Warning: Spoilers
Well, it was certainly not as bad as I expected.

The director has made some really good movies and most of this movie is good, sometimes really good. Interestingly shot, a great palette of hyper crowded Pakistani cities, strange sights not lingered over but shown to give a real sense to the movie goer of what it is like to be there. Actually there, though sitting in a seat in a multiplex among about twenty others in a quarter filled theater. And, a decent script (I never read Marianne Pearl's book so I don't know how much is fact or fiction), some well rounded characters, some good acting where you lose yourself in the scene and character and the movie does what good movies should and must do. A Pakistani police captain who is especially good and an American CIA agent who is not painted in the classic two dimensions of evil that is the template for anything having to do with the CIA in contemporary movies.

Yes, he is caused to smirk and sometimes smile in deep satisfaction as the Pakistani security forces are able to Jack Baur suspects and cause fear merely through questions, but he too, is made, through acting, script, and direction a human rather than just light on a screen.

As a side note you can go to You Tube and see the actual CIA agent involved in a lengthy interview describing what you are about to see on screen and he is an impressive presence and makes you feel as if there are some Americans out there doing their jobs competently in the War on Terror.

The problem with the movie is Angelina Jolie. The movie misses greatness because ultimately it is a star turn more than it is an honest movie about a good man's slaughtering and police procedural of the rescue attempts and how his killers were pursued. I have thought for a long time that Angelina no longer looks remotely human and perhaps is an alien. In close ups one wonders first at what's left from her parents DNA, then at the skill of her surgeon (s), and then, when even surgical skill seems incapable of producing what we see on screen, one wonders about circuit boards and UFOs and whether she is more Fem Bot or more similar to the female assassin in Mars Attacks.

There is no remaining part of Angelina Jolie that is possible in nature. Her presence on the screen is disconcerting, she sucks the life out of a scene as we wonder at her all. In A 'Mighty Heart' this is especially true as she portrays a mixed race French woman with a southern Vesuvian accent. A nine month pregnant alien, not a refugee from Rosemary's Baby, but supposedly carrying the child of the mighty heart whose heart is stilled by Islamic terrorists and may or not have been found in one of the ten parts of his body that they carved from what was once a seemingly wonderful man after making him confess that he was a Jew, and the son of Jewish parent, before sawing his head off with a knife live on video.

But, when that moment arrives on film, we are not shown his agony, or the reality of what happens when the Enlightenment, the Renaissance, liberality, humanism, Western thought, civilization, all that we take for granted as being the world we inhabit collide with the fanaticism of a religion expressed by some in 9th Century terms. No, the director decides or is forced, to turn to his star and give the movie goer the scene that she and her boyfriend/producer hope will be the winning clip used just before the acceptance speech for best actress in next year's Oscar ceremony.

It is almost pornographic and the camera and boom mike linger over it all and I sat there and wondered: why are we hearing her rehearsed and acted screams of agony and pain while the real agony and pain of a real person, Daniel Pearl, graduate of Stanford University, stand-up journalist and soon to be a father, why his murder on tape, his actual butchering is understated to the level of a passing incident, with a raised eyebrow or two and a reddening of a face, and, I think I recall an epithet...maybe?

Angelina, an alien in distress, the classic star turn, the dailies parsed, and screams and cries done again and again, the film cut for Oscar effects and for Oscar viewers. Yet, just off screen and off script, and beyond the world of this movie, a real tape of a real person is ignored. A tape viewed even today on the Internet posted there by people as alien to me and you as Angelina is to most living women. Angelina's scene, like Scorsese telling Robert De Niro that his death scene in Mean Streets was his to have, Angelina was allowed to wallow in her attempt to portray loss while the Daniel Pearl is viewed silently in fake home movies. There, right there, the movie lost me.

The irony of the same cries and agony at the birth of the son never to be seen by Daniel Pearl was a coda to a movie that could of been important but isn't.
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A good movie with very good actors
TheImitationWavess23 June 2007
Warning: Spoilers
It is obvious that this movie would not be light-hearted, due to the subject matter and I was glad to see that the movie was well done and well acted and very thoughtful with such difficult material and subject matter.

Kudos to Michael Winterbottom I think hits the right note with the careful docu-style directing. And I really thought that Futterman, Panjabi, Jolie and Khan's acting were exceptional! They handled difficult material with grace and heart and it shows in their performances. I hope to see Oscor nods for all four actors! This movie is a good movie to remember Daniel Pearl by and what true journalism really is; investigative reporting, not tabloid reporting. There is great journalism out there and we can see that through this movie. The sad fact is that many journalists, especially those reporting from the Middle-East, lose their lives for reporting the things they uncover. This movie is a tribute to those journalists as well, in my opinion.

I really liked the scenes in which Mariane, Asra, Captain and their colleagues were collaborating with each other to try to find Danny, because it shows that we can all get along, no matter what our background, and I feel this movie showed that very well. (I didn't know whether this was a spoiler warning or not, so I checked off spoiler warning just in case)

Unfortunately, for many people it seems that politics underscores their critical evaluation of this movie. This is the same debate as with the politics of the movie "Munich" (2005). Some people, with extreme political opinions, just do not like a balanced view and actively attack it. I can understand critical negative opinion of this movie based on good, thoughtful criticism, but I have read some really vile criticisms, which had little to do with the movie and more with people's political biases. However, I am glad to see that people with a balanced and sensitive view to world politics, still get their movies made. It is obvious that people will attack the movie and even Ms.Jolie (as I had the misfortune to read) for reasons, other than the critical merits of the film or the merits of her acting, but rather her person and their political bias, which is quite sad in my opinion.

Kudos for everyone working on this film for having the courage to make this film the way Mariane Pearl and the crew envisioned it!
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7/10
A very good movie but we must see the both sides of a coin
Fayyaz Yasin18 October 2012
Its a great movies based on fact. But I just want to add that there are also dieing a lot of innocent people in Amarica war against terror playing in Iraq, Afghanistan. I guess all the problems can be solved on table dialouge and wars did not gave us anything except destruction. I pray that world may come to peace. Ameen A good movie but one must also make a movie which also show the sorrow of poor innocent people which died in Afghanistan war, drone attacks in Pakistan as well, we must see the both sides of a coin...........after all they are also human and I thought can be educated like all other human beings. Please help to educate these people not to kill them
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9/10
Fascinating but ...
anthonyjlangford9 August 2009
Grief… Is emotional pain made less if a person doesn't behave in the way we, and the media, expect them to? Lindy Chamberlain certainly knows a thing or two about it, and I suspect, so does Mariane Pearl. This is just one of many themes touched upon in Michael Winterbottom's film of the inside story of American reporter Daniel Pearl who was captured by extremists in Pakistan in early 2002, as told through the eyes of his wife, Mariane (played by Angelina Jolie) whose book the film is based upon.

Winterbottom once again utilizes his documentary style, honed expertly in such films as 'In This World' and 'Road to Guantanamo', bringing a sense of realism to the already chaotic streets of Karachi. It makes for compelling though disturbing viewing as the inevitable draws near. The prolific Winterbottom, who puts out a film a year, has been guilty in the past for observing his characters from a distance, take the clinically dull '9 Songs' for instance, but here he brings us close to Mariane and the Pearls. He cares for them, as do we. It's a horrific situation, if only there were some way that this could be fiction.

Despite some of Jolies' shaky choices over the years, her talent is clear. She is rock steady and contains all the elements for an Oscar nomination. Brad Pitt co-produced the film, so perhaps it's no wonder. The film itself is a high contender.

Inspirational, fascinating but simply heartbreaking. It will leave you staggered by what human beings are capable of.
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5/10
more of a story for lifetime TV
MLDinTN28 February 2009
This movie did not have enough substance to deserve a theater release in my opinion. I could see this as A Lifetime TV movie of the week. The highlight was Anglina Jolie. She did a great acting job in this. Also I think the movie was released too long after the actual event. I didn't remember much about this case on the news. I just mainly remember a reporter was kidnapped and beheaded when demands weren't met. It should have been released maybe 3 years after the fact. And all the filler with the police tracing down leads was boring since you know they don't find Danny.

FINAL VERDICT: The only reason to watch this is if you really like Anglina Jolie.
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