A Mighty Heart (4 stars)

This article is from 2007.

A Mighty Heart

(Michael Winterbottom, US, 2007) 100min

Prolific, versatile British director Michael Winterbottom’s film about the kidnapping of Wall Street journalist Daniel Pearl by Pakistani militants in Karachi in 2002 is at once a riveting political thriller and an enormously affecting human drama.

Based on the memoir written by Mariane Pearl, the film recreates the combined efforts of the Pakistani counter-terrorism unit, an American diplomatic security agent, the FBI, Pearl’s colleagues and Mariane herself to navigate their way through Pakistan’s proliferating terrorist cells, the country’s labyrinthine bureaucracy and the notorious Inter-Services-Intelligence agency to find the missing man, presumed to be held somewhere in the largest city in the world.

Winterbottom and his regular crew’s employment of the documentary-style they honed with the Afghan refugee docudrama In This World (filmed in Pakistan at the same time as Pearl’s kidnapping) gives the film a powerful sense of immediacy, while extensive consultation with the real people involved in the hunt, and filming in many of the actual locations in which the events occurred provides genuine authenticity. Mariane Pearl remains at the centre of this bewildering but utterly compelling dramatic recreation, and Angelina Jolie’s performance as the pregnant French-Cuban wife and journalist is remarkably restrained and astonishingly potent. A work of humanitarian weight. (Miles Fielder)

Cineworld, 623 8030, 18 Aug, 7.15pm & 19 Aug, 9.50pm, both £7.95 (£5.50).

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