A Mighty Heart (15)

Film

Thrillers

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Time Out rating:

<strong>Rating: </strong><span class='lf-avgRating'>4</span>/5

User ratings:

<strong>Rating: </strong><span class='lf-avgRating'>4</span>/5
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Time Out says

Mon Sep 17 2007

Michael Winterbottom’s films are like a Sunday paper: sprawling in focus yet at the same time identifiable in their look and feel and delivered regularly – barely a year passes without another one coming along. There’s an element of unpredictability to them: you don’t know whether you’re going to be attracted to the culture section (‘A Cock and Bull Story’), the news review supplement (‘Welcome to Sarajevo’) or one of those confessional tales of life in the modern city (‘Wonderland’).

What you do know is that a film by Winterbottom will be defined by its lightness of touch, its daring and its desire to get right to the heart of the matter. His latest is an energetic reconstruction of the disappearance of Wall Street Journal writer Daniel Pearl in Karachi in early 2002 and the weeks that followed, during which his French wife, Mariane (Angelina Jolie), endured a fraught investigation until the discovery that her kidnapped husband had been decapitated. It’s Winterbottom’s first collaboration with Hollywood, but this doesn’t appear to have made much difference beyond an evident recourse to more money; there’s a certain slickness here. With its extensive location-work, use of archive footage and its journalistic attention to detail and a visual style that reflects news footage and documentaries, ‘A Mighty Heart’ could be seen as completing a trilogy that includes 'In This World’ and ‘Road to Guantanamo’. It’s comparable, perhaps, to ‘United 93’ in that it dramatises a recent calamity of terror, although it’s much less scientific in its approach and without the conjecture of Greengrass’ film. Laurence Coriat’s script adapts Mariane Pearl’s memoir of the same name; her experience is the film’s main concern.

Jolie surprises as Mariane, portraying her deftly as a calm, intelligent presence unfazed by the varying attitudes to her husband’s disappearance held by the FBI and the Pakistani security services. Different ideas and prejudices collide in the search for him. Before the kidnapping, Winterbottom presents the chaos of Karachi as Pearl (Dan Futterman) fights his way around the city researching possible Pakistani links to British ‘shoe bomber’ Richard Reid. Within 15 minutes, he is gone and the rest of the film leads to the discovery of his murder.

Winterbottom adopts a war-room approach, basing the story in the Pearls’ bustling Karachi home. This scenario is punctuated with brief interludes elsewhere, such as flashes of Pakistani forces torturing a suspect. The film is speedy and never lingers. Edits are fast and close-ups are abundant. Smartly, we don’t see Pearl being kidnapped or his incarceration (apart from a reconstruction of a few moments of his captors’ notorious tape). We gain an insight into the Pearls’ life together from flashbacks and of their life apart from both the terrible, wrenching screams that the pregnant Pearl lets out hearing of her husband’s death and the final shot of her walking alone with her child down a quiet Paris street.

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Release details

Rated:

15

UK release:

Fri Sep 21, 2007

Duration:

108 mins

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<strong>Rating: </strong><span class='lf-avgRating'>0</span>/5

Average User Rating

3.8 / 5

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LiveReviews|6
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Caroline

I thought it was incredible - very powerful and Jolie is truly at her best. It really made me think and I just have so much admiration for Marianne bringing to everyones attention the amount of journalists that get captured and not focusing on her own grief. Its no wonder Jolie has been banned from Pakistan - they're fuming at the way they've been portrayed...I have to say it is incredibly honest and true.

Caroline

I thought it was incredible - very powerful and Jolie is truly at her best. It really made me think and I just have so much admiration for Marianne bringing to everyones attention the amount of journalists that get captured and not focusing on her own grief. Its no wonder Jolie has been banned from Pakistan - they're fuming at the way they've been portrayed...I have to say it is incredibly honest and true.

M Parker

A very powerful film. Not a tv drama at all - much bigger than that. Restrained in its judgement of the big themes of US policy and terrorism. Oscar winning stuff for Jolie - a deservedly so - not spoon fed but genuinely powerful stuff. Marianne Pearl is a remarkable woman.

Jeanna

The script helps to explain a very complicated and tragic event. Jolie was exceptional in her portrayel of Mariane, a totally believable performance. Well worth seeing and a good adaptation of a personal journey through hell.

Jeanna

The script helps to explain a very complicated and tragic event. Jolie was exceptional in her portrayel of Mariane, a totally believable performance. Well worth seeing and a good adaptation of a personal journey through hell.