A Mighty Heart

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A Mighty Heart
Review (8/10)
(By Brendan Cullin)

A Mighty Heart retells the horrifying story of the capture and eventual death of Wall Street journalist Daniel Pearl in early 2002. Pearl (played by Dan Futterman) and his wife Mariane (Angelina Jolie) were in Karachi, Pakistan when Daniel was kidnapped while he was on his way to interview a terrorist leader. A militant group calling itself The National Movement for the Restoration of Pakistani Sovereignty had a series of demands for the United States and they said if these demands were not met they would kill Daniel Pearl. A Mighty Heart tells us the story of the kidnapping and Mariane Pearl's frantic search for her husband.

Much of the buzz surrounding this movie has to do with Jolie's performance. Is it Oscar-worthy? It might be a bit too early in the year to say that but it is sure to get very serious consideration come January. She is outstanding. She gives a very emotional performance, a strong performance and a heartbreaking performance. You don't remember you are watching Angelina Jolie. You think you are watching the real Mariane Pearl.

Besides Jolie's performance, A Mighty Heart is still a very good movie. You feel the chaos, the desperation, the claustophobia and the grimness of the whole situation in this movie. It is not a fun movie - not once. There are no smiles, no laughs, no cheers. There is no doubt about the horrific ending which we are about to see. I have to admit, there are times I thought the movie dragged a bit. I'm not sure if I felt that way just because I knew what was coming. I mean, anyone who doesn't know the ending of the Daniel Pearl story must have been living in a box for the last five years. Mind you, I couldn't remember the exact sequence of events and at times felt I was just waiting painfully for the inevitible. Maybe that made it drag a bit. It's one of those movies where you wish the ending could be changed, you wish for a Hollywood ending, but you know it's not going to happen.

I can't sit here and tell you I enjoyed A Mighty Heart because I didn't. But I will tell you it's a well-made movie and it's a movie that handles a difficult and complicated topic with as much respect as you could expect. It's a movie that you have to be in a certain mood to watch. Just be prepared because it is not a fun summer evening in a theatre. It's heart-wrenching. For all the bad things that are said about George W. Bush in this day and age and trust me, I am as bad as anyone at ripping the guy a new asshole, at least you have to give him some credit for fighting this war on terrorism - or at least trying to. After seeing A Mighty Heart, you just wish that every stinky scumbag terrorist in the world was six feet under. And really, if Bush wasn't at least trying to fight these guys, who would? I can tell you one thing, after watching this movie, I have absolutely no inclination to travel to any country that ends in the letters "stan", "an" or "aq" anytime in the near future. I'd prefer to take my vacations in a country where you don't have to sleep with one eye open.

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