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
Bollywood actor Irrfan Khan who plays Captain could not obtain a visa to enter Pakistan. See more »
There is a travel prayer note hanging on the rear-view mirror of the taxi in which Danny goes to the Village Restaurant in January 2002. The note has a branding of "GMSA Glue", which was not launched until mid of 2004. See more »
The day after 9-11, Danny and I flew to Pakistan. He was the South Asia Bureau Chief for the Wall Street Journal, and I was working for French Public Radio. Thousands of journalist from all over the world arrived in Islamabad to cover the war in neighboring Afghanistan. On the 7th October, bombing began.
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"A Mighty heart" is a "realistic" movie, that tells a thru story, based on real events and including real people of real life. The movie is actually an adaption of Mariane Pearl's diary, where she tells the story of her husband, the journalist Daniel Pearl, kidnapped and killed by terrorists in Pakistan in 2002. The main question for the director Michael Witterbottom was to find the right representation of the reality he depicts. And the choices he made for the movie are both logical and disturbing.
Mariane Pearl, as her husband, is a journalist, and the first form the movie adopts in order to deal with the complex reality of the world is a journalistic style, with a camera always on the move. It really looks like a war reportage for television, that sticks to the events and to the characters in an "emergency"'s style. But surprisingly, this realistic aesthetic also reminds a famous fiction's show about terrorism : "24". And it's especially striking when it comes to action or interrogations (read torture...) scenes, with a Pakistan's Jack Bauer's style cop. If the goals of the directors are not the same ("24" only wants to be entertaining, "A Mighty Heart wants to be more...), and the depiction of terrorism differs ("24" is a show about fear, "A mighty heart" avoids a fear treatment), it's the same need to show every aspects of a situation that creates this similarities in the urge of the mise en scene.
And this depiction of reality, that gives an objectivity feeling to the movie, is a little bit strange when you come to consider that the movie is firstly an individually and personal point of view on a situation. An between the two opposite points of view (the subjective story of Mariane Pearl, and the objectivity of the "24" reality representation), Witterbottom seems to have some difficulty to choose. It really gives to the movie an annoying ambiguous point of view, where you're unable to really understand the nature of the images you're watching. And that's an important question in this kind of movie.
This ambiguity is quite surprising, for Winterbottom seemed to have chosen his style in his previous movies. For a completely different subject (the musical English scene from the Punk to the Techno in Manchester) in "24 Hours Party People", he clearly made his the Ford's sentence about reality that you find in "The Man Who Shot Liberty Valence" : "When the legend becomes fact, print the legend". And this lack of a strong orientation in "A Mighty Heart" also gives the unpleasant feeling to watch the spectacle of a life more than a testimony about it, and to be an intruder in Mariane Pearl's intimacy, even if the movie claims the contrary.
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