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A Mighty Heart (R)





Release Date: June 22nd, 2007 by Paramount Vantage
The Cast: Angelina Jolie, Dan Futterman, Archie Panjabi, Irrfan Khan, Will Patton, Denis O'Hare, Adnan Siddiqui, Gary Wilmes.
Directed by Michael Winterbottom.

BASIC PREMISE: Marian Pearl (Jolie) searches for her journalist husband, Daniel (Futterman), when he goes missing in Pakistan. Based on a true story.

ENTERTAINMENT VALUE: Despite Angelina Jolieís Oscar-worthy performance as Marian Pear, A Mighty Heart has diminishing suspense and not enough character development. The plot begins in the second act when Daniel has already departed from his wife to go on a risky journalism assignment in Pakistan. When he doesnít return the next day, Marian teams up with Danielís colleague, Asra (Punjabi), security man, Randall (Patton), and Captain (Khan), to desperately search for any information about her beloved husbandís whereabouts. Itís mildly intriguing to observe the intricate details of the investigation and how they try to gradually retrace Danielís steps until the inevitable beheading. However, screenwriter John Orloff fails to develop any of the characters which would help you to feel absorbed. He should have included a first act showing how Marian and Daniel met and spending more time together rather. Moreover, too much of the second act feels tedious with diminishing suspense. The brief flashback scenes, when Marian recalls her precious moments with Daniel, feel distracting and donít really help enough to strengthen the bond between them as a married couple. Director Michael Winterbottom films with a handheld digital camera which makes it feel like youíre watching a documentary film. He wisely chooses not to show footage of Danielís inevitable beheading while, instead, focusing on Marianís reactions and, of course, on Angelina Jolieís very strong performance. From start to finish, she proves to be a very talented actress who simply deserves a better script.

SPIRITUAL VALUE: None, other than a brief, moving scene when Marian finally breaks down and cries as she learns that Daniel has been beheaded.

INSULT TO YOUR INTELLIGENCE: Weak character development.

NUMBER OF TIMES I CHECKED MY WATCH: 4

IN A NUTSHELL: Angelina Jolieís powerful, Oscar-worthy performance barely compensates for a by-the-numbers plot with weak character development and diminishing suspense.

RECOMMENDED WAY TO WATCH: DVD


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