Director: Michael Winterbottom
Cast: Angelina Jolie, Dan Futterman, Archie
Panjabi, Will Patton, Irfan Khan, Sajid Hasan, Aly Khan, Denis
RunTime: 1 hr 48 mins
Official Website: http://www.amightyheart.com/
Based on the memoirs of Mariane Pearl, A Mighty Heart tells
the story of Daniel (Dan Futterman) and Mariane Pearl (Angelina
Jolie), both journalists, who were among thousands of journalists
that headed to Afghanistan after September 11, 2001 to report
on the US-led “war on terror”.
January 23, 2002, a day before Daniel and Mariane were due
to fly to Dubai from Karachi, the capital of Pakistan, Daniel
leaves to meet a known Islamic fundamentalist Sheikh Gilani
but never returns. The movie follows the account of how Mariane,
distraught but always determined, and a team of FBI counter
terrorist agents, race against time to rescue Daniel.
A Mighty Heart is a fine example of a movie to emerge from
a more politically conscious Hollywood, following the events
of September 11, 2001 and the ensuing US-led “war on
terror” in Afghanistan and Iraq.
many of its peers have chosen to focus on the impact of the
war on the soldiers at the frontlines or their families at
home, this movie based on the book by Mariane Pearl places
its focus squarely on a husband and wife journalist team.
And by doing so, it deftly underscores the ramifications on
the people who risk their lives to let the world at large
experience firsthand what is going on.
must go to director Michael Winterbottom, also the director
of the equally politically charged The Road To Guantanamo.
His documentary-style approach to A Mighty Heart is similar
to that of his previous movie, lending a gravitas to a story
which at its heart is a heart tugging chronicle of a five-months
pregnant wife trying desperately to search for a missing husband.
great movies have always managed to balance a sense of the
intimate with the larger scale of things happening around
people. What A Mighty Heart manages to bring to light is the
nature of journalism as it is practiced today.
fact, journalism has long been built on the pillar of objectivity,
where the journalist is a mere observer, a mirror of reality.
But what the last seven years have taught readers is that
journalists are not mere observers, their articles not mere
mirrors of reality, especially so since accusations have been
thrown left right and centre about how the American media
has been responsible for painting a coloured truth of the
war to Americans.
reflection is captured most aptly in A Mighty Heart where
the journalist, the observer, becomes the actor, and thus
plays a key role in how events play out, portrayed both in
Daniel Pearl the kidnapped journalist, as well as Mariane
Pearl, the journalist at the centre of her own story.
has been said about Angelina Jolie’s performance in
A Mighty Heart, with most reviewers praising it as moving,
measured and convincing. Indeed, this movie does give Jolie
a chance to flex her acting abilities, unlike her more flashy
roles in Mr And Mrs Smith and Wanted that she is better known
for. Lest one forgets, she did burst into the Hollywood spotlight
with a Best Supporting Actress award for Girl Interrupted
Jolie acquits herself superbly, delivering a honest and sincere
performance that wins the audiences’ admiration and
empathy for her character. In the midst of it all, Mariane
Pearl, in life as in this movie, is distraught but never disheartened,
always steeling herself to think coolly and rationally.
however pleasantly surprises me in this movie is how director
Winterbottom avoids showing Daniel Pearl in the hands of his
kidnappers. There are no abduction videos, or beheadings.
Instead, Winterbottom portrays the horror of the conclusion
through the disbelief, disappointment and frustration of the
characters who have spent sleepless nights toiling over the
clues and leads they have.
this movie never made it to local theatres and is only now
released direct to DVD. Nonetheless, A Mighty Heart is an
expertly fashioned drama, and a competently-acted one. It
deserves to be seen by a wider audience, for the very issues
and emotions it raises are still pertinent till this day.
Review by Gabriel Chong