Thursday, March 12, 2009


Angelina Jolie, Dan Futterman, Archie Punjabi

"It was an event that shocked the world.
This is the story you haven't heard."

This poignant film based on a real life event will touch your heart. It is based on the book "A Mighty Heart: The brave life and death of my husband Daniel Pearl" pegged by Mariane Pearl, the French Cuban journalist wife of the Wall Street Journal reporter Daniel Pearl who was kidnapped and beheaded in Pakistan by extremist in 2002.

As told from her perspective, it is an authentic view of the-behind-the-scenes of the story which gripped the whole world with abated breath. Filmed in a semi documentary format, the movie traces the combined efforts by all the concerned parties (the local police, the US Embassy, his Wall Street Journal colleagues) in piecing the mystery (which group abducted Pearl?) together. So there were some exciting scenes mostly about the police investigation while the rest of the film would focus on Mariane's anguish. Neatly spliced with flashbacks scenes of their happy life together that certainly added a personal touch to the film. This film could have easily turned into a human tragedy story of the month like those on the Hallmark channels. But fortunately it did not.

The horrific tragedy that unfolds on screen is given a humane treatment through the credible acting ability of Angelina Jolie who portrays the bereaved wife. Her in depth and subdued performance of a pregnant woman going through a very difficult time filled with troubling anxiety gives this gripping thriller its soul. Her ability to essay different emotional expressions on her face without resorting to hysterics was a big factor. She even spoke softly with a French accent just like the real Mariane Pearl.

I remember reading many articles about the Daniel Pearl incident and religiously following the news on cable TV. But this film reaffirms my belief that his family, his colleagues and the authorities did everything to the best of their ability to rescue him. They never gave up nor did they lose hope. It also gave a personal account of his life, his dedication as a reporter and his devotion to his wife. The film humanized Daniel Pearl as a passionate man yet unfortunately it also gave a face to the very real threat of terrorism especially in that part of the world.

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