Movie Review: A Mighty Heart

A Mighty Heart is one of those films that I've been hearing non-stop about for months. The media has been all over the flick, from tabloids covering Angelina Jolie's every move, and internet ads plastered on many major sites, to Jolie's appearances on everything from Larry King Live to The Daily Show with Jon Stewart. When I see a film that gets this much hype, I think of two things – either the film's PR firm is really that good, or the film itself captivates people, and inspires them to cover the story. In my opinion, A Mighty Heart has a little of both.

First, I must mention that the countdown emails with soundtrack audio clips, trailers, and publicity photos that I received in my inbox nearly each and every day from Paramount Vantage for the last couple weeks were a constant reminder to me to write this review. To credit the film, the directing was skillful, and Jolie's acting as Mariane Pearl, wife of slain journalist Daniel Pearl (played by Dan Futterman) was raw and realistic. A Mighty Heart is one of the heaviest films I've seen in a while.

The story of Daniel Pearl is one that most Americans have heard much about, so I was interested to see how director Michael Winterbottom would engage the audience without that element of suspense. The strange thing is that although I knew that Danny was dead throughout the entire film, the realistic portrayal of Mariane by Jolie made me feel connected, experiencing this ordeal with Mariane, and therefore, holding out hope with her that they would find Danny alive.

A Mighty Heart was shot using hand-held cameras, and edited in a quick, choppy style. This production choice by Winterbottom is methodically chaotic, and really brings the sense of urgency and confusion to the audience.

The only thing that I was slightly disappointed about was the abrupt ending when Mariane and the search teams find out that Daniel has been killed. I feel the finale came too quickly, and could have been better paced. A Mighty Heart is otherwise a great film with an independently low budget directing style and impressive performances from not only Jolie and Futterman, but also the rest of the international cast.

/Film Rating: 8 out of 10