A Mighty Heart

Plot: Based on the book “A Might Heart: The Brave Life and Death of my Husband Danny Pearl,” Angelina Jolie plays Mariane Pearl during 2002 when Daniel Pearl, South Asian bureau chief, was taken hostage and eventually murdered. Mariane did everything she could to find Daniel during his final days in Pakistan, all while she was pregnant with their first child.

Who’s it for: This is not your typical summer popcorn flick. It’s a heavy drama.

Expectations: In most situations, I believe Angelina Jolie is one the best actors out there. I thought she missed with her performance in “The Good Shepherd,” so I figured she’d bounce back with this one. Plus, I didn’t know much about Daniel Pearl’s story so I was hoping to get educated.

SCORECARD

Actors:

Angelina Jolie as Mariane Pearl: Unfortunately, when you typically see Jolie’s name in the paper, it’s for something other than her acting. The result of this is a tendency to forget how good she is as an actress. She’s absolutely absorbing in this role.
Grade: 9

Dan Futterman as Daniel Pearl: He’s mostly seen in flashbacks, but does very good subtle work and you constantly feel compassion for this awful situation. If you like Futterman, check out his previous work in the small indie film “Shooting Fish.”
Grade: 7

Will Patton as Randall Bennett: Patton always does good work no matter what the role. Hell, he almost made me cry in “Armageddon.”
Grade: 7

Talking: This film uses the ‘less is more’ approach with it’s dialogue, especially when showing the back story connection between Daniel and Mariane. It shows the simple moments that every couple shares and proves the love and respect between them.
Grade: 8

Sights and sounds: Occasionally “A Mighty Heart” runs into the SCS (shaking camera syndrome) problem that most low-quality action films use, but with “A Mighty Heart” it tends to work giving you the feeling you’re just a fly on the wall.
Grade: 7

OVERALL

“A Mighty Heart” is a heavy, hectic film that proves waiting around for phone calls can still being insanely dramatic and engaging. It’s shot almost like a documentary and sucks you into the waiting game Mariane and the authorities must play while waiting to hear from the terrorists who kidnapped Daniel Pearl. Angelina Jolie continues to prove her acting is worth more discussion than her personal life. It’s not always fun to watch, but it’s an important piece of work that pays tribute to all the journalists who are willing to brave difficult situations.

Overall Grade: 8

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