A Mighty Heart (15)

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The View Review

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Review byMatthew Turner19/09/2007

Three out of Five stars
Running time: 103 mins

Impressively directed drama with an Oscar-worthy performance from Angelina Jolie, but the story isn't as tense or as moving as it should have been.

What's it all about?
Based on the kidnapping and (look away now if you don't read the newspapers) eventual beheading of American political journalist Daniel Pearl (Dan Futterman), the film concentrates on the efforts of the US (represented by sinister character actor Will Patton, which doesn't bode well) and Pakistani authorities to track down those responsible for the kidnapping before it's too late. Angelina Jolie plays Daniel's pregnant wife, Mariane, herself a political journalist, who tries to keep a level head throughout the ordeal.

The Good
The film is essentially a procedural drama, shot in a hand-held documentary style - literally all we see of Daniel after his kidnapping is his image in the photos released by the kidnappers. This approach works well, ensuring that the film never succumbs to melodramatics and ensuring that the emotional scenes, when they do come, carry much more power as a result.

Jolie is fantastic as Mariane, embuing her with extraordinary reserves of strength and courage: the speech where she defends what Daniel was doing (With the greatest respect, sir, that is exactly the business of a journalist) is pure Oscar clip material and her French accent isn't bad either. There's also strong support from Futterman and from Irrfan Khan as the Pakistani anti-terrorism officer.

The Bad
Unfortunately, the film is yet another victim of Apollo 13 Syndrome, in that you are constantly aware that the film is building towards a horrifically downbeat ending. This also has the effect of defusing any tension in the story – there's no excitement in a race against time when you already know that the bad guys win.

Worth seeing?
Ultimately, A Mighty Heart is well made and superbly acted, but the all too familiar outcome of the story strips it of any tension and prevents you from fully engaging on an emotional level.

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A Mighty Heart (15)
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Content updated: 26/09/2015 08:26

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