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A Mighty Heart [HD DVD]
A Mighty Heart
Actors: Angelina Jolie, Dan Futterman, Irrfan Khan, Archie Panjabi, Mohammed Afzal
Director: Michael Winterbottom
Genres: Drama
R     2007     1hr 48min

Based on Mariane Pearl's account of the terrifying and unforgettable story of her husband, Wall Street Journal reporter Danny Pearl's life and death.


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Movie Details

Actors: Angelina Jolie, Dan Futterman, Irrfan Khan, Archie Panjabi, Mohammed Afzal
Director: Michael Winterbottom
Creators: Andrew Eaton, Anita Overland, Arti Gupta, Brad Pitt, Dede Gardner, John Orloff, Mariane Pearl
Genres: Drama
Sub-Genres: Drama
Studio: Paramount Vantage
Format: HD DVD - Color,Widescreen - Closed-captioned,Dubbed,Subtitled
DVD Release Date: 10/16/2007
Original Release Date: 06/22/2007
Theatrical Release Date: 06/22/2007
Release Year: 2007
Run Time: 1hr 48min
Screens: Color,Widescreen
Number of Discs: 1
SwapaDVD Credits: 1
Total Copies: 0
Members Wishing: 1
MPAA Rating: R (Restricted)
Languages: Arabic, English, French, Urdu, French
Subtitles: English, French, Portuguese, Spanish
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Movie Reviews

A Mighty Heart - Pearl's Gift on Film
Mark | East Coast | 12/18/2007
(4 out of 5 stars)

"A Mighty Heart" has brought a terrible story of loss to film. The director creates a web of suspense and uneasiness that is meant to convey the feelings of being a foreign journalist in Pakistan at that time. While Marianne never gets Daniel back, her resilience shines through and makes us feel that his memory will live on.

Daniel Pearl appears in the early frames of the film as he attempts to arrange to meet with a controversial figure. Most of the film's remainder is centered around the frantic attempts by Pakistani Secret Police, the FBI, French Intelligence, and Marianne to track down his captors and negotiate his safe return.

Angelina Jolie plays Marianne, wife of slain journalist Daniel Pearl. The film is based on her autobiographical book, A Mighty Heart: The Brave Life and Death of My Husband, Danny Pearl. Jolie's performance is largely good. She is caught in several technical break-down's in her futile attempts to mimic Marianne's French accent. Still, it's a good effort that will not take away for most viewers.

Director Michael Winterbottom emphasizes the chaos and uncertainty with minimal lighting and many hand-held shots. In that sense he makes the film feel like a documentary, which is no small feat. The original score is made up of tense mood music that prevents the audience from settling in. It underlines a soundtrack almost exclusively made of Indian music. A Mighty Heart (Music From The Motion Picture)

Still, the director is almost too adept at his drama and suspense. Mainstream audiences may feel directionless as the characters get leads and have them continuously end fruitlessly. Great performances are mixed in with incomplete ones. The story is told accurately, but with a few more takes it could have been epic.

You do get an appreciation for the difficulty foreign governments have in dealing with each other. The Pakistani agents assigned to the case are clearly trying their best to help the Pearls. Yet the government distrusts outsiders and accuses them of setting up the kidnapping to humiliate Pakistan. Making matters worse, the press uses their pages for rumors and misinformation, at one point accusing Marianne's Indian friend of being a spy for Indian Intelligence.

The Special Features are limited to a Making of segment. The film is also available in HD DVD. A Mighty Heart [HD DVD]

Overall, this is an important movie that should be watched.

A Tragedy That Illuminates and Grieves Hatred
prisrob | New EnglandUSA | 03/26/2008
(4 out of 5 stars)

"'The film's strict avoidance of exploitation and sensationalism only adds to the film's emotional impact. In just a few scenes, Futterman - the acclaimed screenwriter of Capote - digs deeply into Daniel as a journalist and a man. But the film belongs to Jolie. This is by far her best performance, strong and true in every detail from Mariane's accent (her roots are Dutch and Afro-Cuban) to the strength she shows under fire. Her total immersion in the role keeps the film from getting lost in the rush of details." Peter Travers

Mariane Pearl wrote a book about her experiences while her husband Daniel Pearl was held captive by Jihadists. The book 'The Brave Life and Death of my husband, Danny Pearl' is but a piece of this film. The film is badly named to begin with, doesn't have the catch for an audience. However, the acting and history of Pakistan and the Jihads far out way any negativity.

Angelina Jolie has marked this role as her own and she has perfected it. As has been mentioned numerous times her accent and look became Mariane. But at the same time Angelina Jolie was too much for the movie. It should have been a hit. The other numerous cast were absolutely right for their roles- no gratuitous violence overshadowed the film. We all knew how it was going to end, and the telling of Danny;s murder was held with aplomb. Mariane falls apart and goes to her room to keel. However, this was too much, were we all thinking 'is this overdone', is this just right, has this gone on too long'?

The history of Pakistan and the part it played in the jihad and in Al qaeda is the mainframe of the story. What was it that attracted the Jihad to Danny Pearl, and why did they plan his kidnapping and resultant death? The filming was a highlight-the city of Karachi at its best and worst in the light of day and night is a story in itself.

The birth of Adam, Mariane and Danny's son and their life in France is the conclusion of this tragedy. A life that was undone and for what purpose?

What is best about "A Mighty Heart" is that it doesn't reduce the Daniel Pearl story to a plot, but elevates it to a tragedy. A tragedy that illuminates and grieves for the hatred that runs loose in our world, hatred as a mad dog that attacks everyone. Attacks them for what seems, to the dog, the best of reasons." Roger Ebert

Recommended. prisrob 03-25-08

Girl, Interrupted

Compelling Docudrama Meticulously Follows Mariane Pearl's Ha
Ed Uyeshima | San Francisco, CA USA | 01/03/2008
(4 out of 5 stars)

"The harrowing images of Benazir Bhutto's assassination bring to light the pervasive instability of Pakistan's political system, and even though over five years have elapsed since The Wall Street Journal reporter Daniel Pearl's kidnapping and murder, director Michael Winterbottom has captured a frenetic, scarifying atmosphere in this 2007 film that feels as current as the latest news on CNN. I cannot imagine the unrelenting nightmare Mariane Pearl, five months pregnant, must have felt for those endless weeks back in early 2002 when her husband was being held hostage by radical Islamic terrorists in Karachi. Winterbottom, along with screenwriter John Orloff, brings visceral life to her stunning 2003 memoir by taking a docudrama approach similar to Paul Greengrass' immensely powerful United 93 and applying it to her disheartening experience. This lends a halting realism to the film but at a price since it also obscures some of the narrative flow as a result.

The story begins on the day of Daniel Pearl's disappearance when he arranged to meet with a Muslim cleric named Sheikh Gilani for an interview. After a discombobulating ride through the teeming urban jungle of Karachi, it becomes clear it was a set-up for his capture. We see the chaotic unfurling of events and the agonizing realization of a desperate situation through Mariane's eyes. Surrounding her is a coterie of colleagues and friends, as well as the local police, all of whom are looking for clues to his disappearance as Mariane attempts to be the model of preternatural composure. Although we all know how it will end, Winterbottom manages to drive the race against the clock with urgent propulsion, even when he does sacrifice plot clarity at key moments for the sake of pacing. What does become clear is the dawning revelation that journalists have become attractive targets for terrorists and the seeming intractability of regional mistrust, in particular, between Pakistan and India, when it come to the inevitable finger-pointing around the kidnapping. The resulting ambiguity and disarray in the investigation can be frustrating to track, but it does feel true to what went on at the time.

Given the constant barrage of her off-screen notoriety, it's easy to forget how compelling an actress Angelina Jolie can be when challenged to do her best. Probably for the first time since 1999's Girl, Interrupted, she completely inhabits a character and captures Mariane down to the idiosyncratic, murmuring French-Cuban accent and curly mop of hair. The difference this time is that she does it with understated nuance rather than bravura turns. Only once does she release her inner pain with primal force, and the climactic scene is all the more powerful for the subtlety that precedes it. The superb Irfan Khan (the quietly authoritative father in Mira Nair's The Namesake) makes his moments count as the local intelligence officer leading the investigation. Smaller contributions are effectively made by Archie Panjabi as a reporting colleague who becomes into Mariane's confidante, Will Patton as the sympathetic ambassador, and Dan Futterman primarily in flashback as Daniel.

Thanks to the sure hands involved, Mariane's story is a tribute to the power of the human spirit in the face of terrorism. The translation to film could have been easily sensationalized into a clarion call for anti-Islamic hatred, but like her book, it remains remarkably controlled and free of self-pity. The 2007 DVD is short on extras but includes a half-hour making-of featurette, "A Journey of Passion: The Making of `A Mighty Heart'", pretty standard in format but enlightening in is display of Winterbottom's seemingly free-form filmmaking approach. Beyond the original theatrical trailer and a few previews, the extras include a brief public-service announcement for the Pearl Foundation with CNN's Christiane Amanpour and a short video of the Committee to Protect Journalists."
A human struggle
Humor freak | A sunny island close to the equator | 12/29/2007
(4 out of 5 stars)

"I like that this is a human, not a religious struggle. I haven't read the book, but I will! The international cast played well and one would have liked to learn more about the characters, but being a movie, there's a constraint.

I feel Angelina Jolie was chosen to pull the audience to the movie due to her superstar status but I was happy to see that her "glam" was downplayed - her french accent was impressive!

The special features were worth the look. It was mentioned again and again how there are two sides to every equation - be they religion, humanity or just being a person.

All in all, a movie I'll watch again as I like movies that prompt me to find out more about the subject..."