A Mighty Heart (15)

Film image

The ViewBirmingham Review

StarStarStarNo StarNo Star
Review byMatthew Turner19/09/2007

Three out of Five stars
Running time: 103 mins

Impressively directed drama with an Oscar-worthy performance from Angelina Jolie, but the story isn't as tense or as moving as it should have been.

What's it all about?
Based on the kidnapping and (look away now if you don't read the newspapers) eventual beheading of American political journalist Daniel Pearl (Dan Futterman), the film concentrates on the efforts of the US (represented by sinister character actor Will Patton, which doesn't bode well) and Pakistani authorities to track down those responsible for the kidnapping before it's too late. Angelina Jolie plays Daniel's pregnant wife, Mariane, herself a political journalist, who tries to keep a level head throughout the ordeal.

The Good
The film is essentially a procedural drama, shot in a hand-held documentary style - literally all we see of Daniel after his kidnapping is his image in the photos released by the kidnappers. This approach works well, ensuring that the film never succumbs to melodramatics and ensuring that the emotional scenes, when they do come, carry much more power as a result.

Jolie is fantastic as Mariane, embuing her with extraordinary reserves of strength and courage: the speech where she defends what Daniel was doing (With the greatest respect, sir, that is exactly the business of a journalist) is pure Oscar clip material and her French accent isn't bad either. There's also strong support from Futterman and from Irrfan Khan as the Pakistani anti-terrorism officer.

The Bad
Unfortunately, the film is yet another victim of Apollo 13 Syndrome, in that you are constantly aware that the film is building towards a horrifically downbeat ending. This also has the effect of defusing any tension in the story – there's no excitement in a race against time when you already know that the bad guys win.

Worth seeing?
Ultimately, A Mighty Heart is well made and superbly acted, but the all too familiar outcome of the story strips it of any tension and prevents you from fully engaging on an emotional level.

Film Trailer

A Mighty Heart (15)
A Mighty Heart has been reviewed by 2 users
image
01 Focus (15)

Will Smith, Margot Robbie, Rodrigo Santoro

image
02 Selma (12A)

David Oyelowo, Carmen Ejogo, Tim Roth

image
03 Far from the Madding Crowd (tbc)

Carey Mulligan, Tom Sturridge, Matthias Schoenaert...

image
04 Chappie (tbc)

Hugh Jackman, Sigourney Weaver, Sharlto Copley

image
05 A Most Violent Year (15)

Oscar Isaac, Jessica Chastain, David Oyelowo

Content updated: 21/11/2017 21:25

Latest Film Reviews

Film Blog

Urban Pundit

Keep up to date with everything in film and cinema at Urban Pundit, the exciting new blog.

Film of the Week

The Conjuring (15)

Hugely enjoyable, genuinely scary horror flick that provides a welcome throwback to classic 1970s chillers, thanks to impeccable production design, a superb script, powerfully atmospheric direction, intense set-pieces and terrific performances.

Latest Close Up

Noah Baumbach Interview

The Frances Ha director discusses co-writing the script with Greta Gerwig, shooting against the backdrop of New York and the real lives of the city’s people, Greta Gerwig’s performance, the music in the film and the picture's visual style.