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Does The Daniel Pearl Drama A MIGHTY HEART Have A Mighty Heart??

Merrick again…
Justin sent in his thoughts after a screening of A MIGHTY HEART [site & trailer here HERE]. For those who haven’t heard, this stars Angelina Jolie as Mariane Pearl – wife of Daniel Pearl (played in the film by Dan Futterman, the writer of CAPOTE) – a journalist kidnapped in Pakistan back in 2002. His subsequent beheading was videotaped and presented to the world by his abductors. A manhunt for his murderers ensued, resulting in multiple arrests. Be warned, if you go out looking for more information about Pearl, you’re likely to come across some intensely graphic images/footage of his beheading. So, if you’re at work, have sensitive people around you, or are simply queasy…don’t go searching for more details.
Here’s Justin…
Just caught a screening of "A Mighty Heart", the story of the kidnap and killing of Wall Street Journal reporter Daniel Pearl. Now I didn't know much about the film except that it was based on Daniel's wife Mariene Pearls book and just having seen the trailer about a month or so ago wasn't too excited. The cut I saw was pretty much what I think the theatrical version will be and ran just a little over an hour and a half. Now I'm not gonna get all ploty because most of you should know the story but it's a pretty straighforward investigation centric movie about trying to track down Daniel after he goes out for a meeting and doesn't return. The cast is all good which has Dan Futterman (writer of "Copote") as Daniel Pearl, Angelina Jolie as his wife Mariane Pearl, the always watchable Will Patton ("Remember The Titans"), and a very great performance by Irfan Kahn as the Captain who really has it out for these terrorist and anyone involved. The problem is that beside Irfan the cast doesn't have alot to do when they could have had plenty. Futterman as Daniel who really shows off some talent in a very small authentic role why he's only in the film a short while in the beginning and then we only catch him in flashbacks throughout. A very pregnant Jolie with a pretty spot on French accent which only slips a few times when she raises her voice gives her best performance in a while. But it doesn't really consist of anything other than looking bug eyed and scared one moment then trying to remain positive like nothing is wrong and thinking about her and Daniel in the past which happens quite a bit the next. She (Jolie) does finally get to show us some raw, pretty heartbreaking emotion in the third act of the film after she is made aware of Daniels murder. Directed by Michael Winterbottom whom I not too familiar with other than for "Code 46" and "24 Hour Party People" which I thought were both at best just okay films really held my attention throughout. Winterbottom really reminded me of Michael Mann or Paul Greengrasses with "United 93". He's sorta captured the authenticity of this tradegedy, shooting it like a documentary and really setting up the atmosphere which is the most suspenseful part beside the dread of knowing what will happen to Daniel in the end. I did like the fact that when the tape arrives containing Dainels slaughter we don't see it, only the emotiong of the group of folk watching it. We finally cut to the end when we smash to the tape of Daniel speaking into the video recorder about his life. My few problems with "A Mighy Heart" is that there's really no reason it exist. It's not that fascinating as a kidnapping film, thriller or biopic. It has really nothing new to offer to any of those genres But I did enjoy it. It's not a bad film nor is it a great film its just "blah" all the way through..... Justin

Readers Talkback
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  • May 16, 2007, 8:59 a.m. CST

    Is 'beheading drama' finally a genre all of its own?

    by Franklin T Marmoset

    About damn time.<p>How many films do you need to qualify for independent genre status? I only ask because I'm still waiting for an entire flood of films about zombie monkeys.

  • May 16, 2007, 9:01 a.m. CST


    by SithMenace

  • May 16, 2007, 9:04 a.m. CST

    With all due respect, dudicand was a spy

    by PotSmokinAlien

    the cinematic revision of history marches on. to the memory tubes!

  • May 16, 2007, 9:13 a.m. CST

    Sithmenace, you beat me to it

    by Abominable Snowcone

    This whole beheading trend only goes to show that all those turban clowns in the middle east are animals, and should be elimated without much thought to collateral damage. I mean, can YOU imagine sawing someone's head off? Can you imagine how sadistic you'd have to be to do that to someone? That's just total disregard for the sanctity of life and integrity of the body. I don't see a whole lot of people paying to watch a movie about Mariane Pearl's consternation and grief. In a way, it only celebrates the terrorists. The best thing for the US to do (if we're not gonna carpet bomb the entire middle east) is to leave Iraq and just ignore those lunatics for a while. We're giving them the attention they're after.

  • May 16, 2007, 9:14 a.m. CST


    by SithMenace

  • May 16, 2007, 9:18 a.m. CST

    Political rant aside, if they do this movie right

    by Abominable Snowcone could be the groundbreaker for CGI technology. Just show the death over and over, from multiple angles, in real time and slow mo, in glorious digital high definition. Puh-leeze. What an unnecessary movie. I mean, who's gonna come home from work a year from now and think, "Wow, what a day. I think I'll unwind by putting on that Daniel Pearl movie." Will ILM render the beheading sequence? Kick ass. "And the Oscar for best editing in a beheading drama goes to..."

  • May 16, 2007, 9:20 a.m. CST


    by SithMenace

    Now they're training 12 year olds to do it. They probably have been all along, but now it's on tape. I remember hearing about the first guy that got beheaded over there, and I thought "Well, at least it was quick". Then I heard they sawed his head off with a hunting knife, and on top of that videotaped it. Ever since then I have been all for getting the troops out. What do we really expect to prove to those maniacs? Get our guys out and let the towelheads kill each other.

  • May 16, 2007, 9:24 a.m. CST


    by SithMenace

    Towelheads is inaccurate and offensive. Technically they are not towels but little sheets on their heads, so they prefer the term "little sheet heads".

  • May 16, 2007, 9:54 a.m. CST


    by SithMenace

  • May 16, 2007, 10:04 a.m. CST

    Harry Change the Graphic

    by SpiceMonkey27

    I want to see an animated graphic of harry getting his head cut off at the top of the screen!!! would'nt that be fun

  • May 16, 2007, 10:37 a.m. CST

    No reason for this film to exist.

    by ZeroCorpse

    Sometimes, cashing in on a dramatic story is the wrong thing to do. We all saw. We all felt the emotion. We were all shocked. All this movie seeks to do is remind of those visceral moments, and make a profit while doing it. It doesn't tell us anything we didn't already get from watching the events unfold ourselves. I don't care to see the reaction of his wife or friends. I don't care because MY reaction was genuine enough, and I have the ability to imagine how his wife and friends reacted- How terrible it must have been for them. <p> This is a snuff film without actually needing to show the fatal moment-- Because we all saw (or heard about) it already, and our built-in shocked reaction is still there. It's just a movie that says "Hey! Remember when they cut that guy's head off. That was pretty awful, wasn't it?" <p> Yes. It was. Why does Hollywood feel the need to mention it at all? <p> Minus several points to Angelina Jolie for doing this exploitive flick disguised as a drama.

  • May 16, 2007, 10:42 a.m. CST


    by newc0253

    beheading hostages was so 2002. We need cinema that speaks to current events, like Paris Hilton's pending incarceration.

  • May 16, 2007, 11:13 a.m. CST

    Don't be surprised...

    by DocPazuzu

    ...if tinfoil-sombrero GingerTwit shows up and once again claims that the beheadings were faked by Americans, referring to - among other things - that the hands holding the knives were "too white."

  • May 16, 2007, 12:14 p.m. CST

    "The Daniel Pearl Beheading Drama"

    by Shigeru

    Stay classy, AICN.

  • May 16, 2007, 12:33 p.m. CST

    Rene Cardona Jr

    by Blood T Cat

    would've been a perfect director for this lifetime ladies picture.

  • May 16, 2007, 12:56 p.m. CST


    by Abominable Snowcone

    Yeah, I saw a couple weeks back some 8 year old was 'trained' to hack some guy's head off. This was a new level of offensive to me, because here was this kid, and kids, being more or less innocent in nature, lack the judgment to understand the immorality and finality of their actions. And even if he did understand what he was doing, he probably could not have declined participation anyway because the grown-up maniac towel heads would make him do it anyway. So you get one dead beheaded guy, and one child's innocence forever lost, and three or four religious maniacs with jizz stains in their pants. And really, if they think they're so goddamned tough, what's with the masks all the time? It's not as if anyone in the states would recognize you anyway. If you're gonna kill some innocent reporter or missionary in the name of your invisible man in the sky, at least have the balls the look him in the eye when you do it, or the camera, if you're sick enough to insist on taping it. Christ, those fuckers are re-pug-nant.

  • May 16, 2007, 1:15 p.m. CST

    "just okay films"

    by Alonzo Mosely

    24 hour party people is just ok? Fucking idiots everywhere I look these days...

  • May 16, 2007, 2:33 p.m. CST

    It's human nature

    by King Sweyn Forkbeard

    Belgians used to chop people's arms off in Africa. Britons slaughtered Aborigines in Australia. Americans wiped out the natives whos land they wanted. The Arabs are only doing what most of the rest of the world have done for millennia <P> Basically when you get down to it, People are bastards.

  • May 16, 2007, 3:01 p.m. CST

    Is it true that the studio...

    by Abominable Snowcone

    ...was thinking of issuing Daniel bobble-head dolls as promotional toys in Burger King 'Mighty Kid' meals? That's crass.

  • May 16, 2007, 3:31 p.m. CST

    Does It Reveal Pakistani ISI Involvement in 9/11?

    by pockybot

    Because thtas why Daniel Pearl died, he accidentally found out that yes, ISI controls al Qaeda and was involved in 9/11. And boy, what a coinkydink Pakistan happens to be America's ally, yet they are pushing the Taliban resurgence. KSM and Omar Saaed Sheikh were nothing but psychopathic puppets of the ISI, and by proxy the global elite network behind 9/11

  • May 16, 2007, 3:47 p.m. CST

    For anyone not to be famillair with Winterbottom's work

    by emeraldboy

    I only ask where the hell have you been. Welcome To Sarajevo, Wonderland, Road to Guantanamo, A cock and bull story and nine songs. I have seen all of these except Code 46 and nine songs. bar that I consider Winterbottom to be one of the greatest you filmmakers of his generation. I suggest to the guy who doesnt know winterbottom that well to track these down immedatiely.

  • May 16, 2007, 3:55 p.m. CST

    Bush will pay all this for his dealing with the

    by emeraldboy

    President Musharrif. My god what a stupid/arrogant bunch of people Cheney's group are. ISI created the taliban. Well when the Insurgents bring down Musharrif, bush and company will only have themsleves to blame. This is the same administration that gave the corrupt dictator Musharrif 300 billion in arms as thank you present for loyal in the war on terror. From What i know of the situation. when rice went to pakistan to deal with Musharriff the general who created the taliban was still there and he was removed when american threatened to bomb pakistan back to the stone age. Pakistan is in turmoil. today. Amazing the way bush and company are fucking up the world.

  • May 16, 2007, 5:02 p.m. CST

    Not sure about the video

    by bralli

    I watched it and it really looks like he was already dead when they sawed the head off. Notice the continuity of the scene; it seems edited.

  • May 16, 2007, 7:28 p.m. CST

    9/11 WAS Pakistan/Saudi Arabia...oh and...

    by pockybot

    Winterbottom's Road To Guantanamo EXPOSED how the US government tortures innocent Arabs, and fakes video to indict "enemy combatants". Oh and 9 Songs had some of the best non simulated indie sex scenes, ever

  • May 16, 2007, 9:11 p.m. CST


    by Allfather Starr

    What, no Omen in your list?

  • May 16, 2007, 10:02 p.m. CST

    BEHEADING: All the muslim kids are doing it!

    by classyfredblassy

    ASIAN TIMES: A group of Islamic militants kidnapped and then beheaded an Evangelist Christian in Kashmir. The man’s head, wrapped in a plastic bag was, left outside a Mosque on April 14th last, where it was recovered by police.

  • May 16, 2007, 10:04 p.m. CST

    All this kids are doing it, Part 2

    by classyfredblassy

    Three teenage Christian girls were beheaded and a fourth was seriously wounded in a savage attack on Saturday by unidentified assailants in the Indonesian province of Central Sulawesi. The girls were among a group of students from a private Christian high school who were ambushed while walking through a cocoa plantation in Poso Kota subdistrict on their way to class, police Major Riky Naldo said.

  • May 16, 2007, 10:05 p.m. CST

    All the kids are doing it, part 3

    by classyfredblassy

    E Taliban's use of a child to behead a man accused of being a US spy has been condemned as a war crime and a grotesque example of the abuse of children in armed conflict. A shocking video circulating in Pakistan shows the boy, believed to be just 11 or 12 years old, standing over his bound and blindfolded victim with a long knife and, in a high-pitched voice, denouncing him as an American spy about to meet his fate. A man then holds the victim by the beard while the boy, wearing a camouflage jacket and white sneakers, cuts his throat. The boy then continues to hack away at the neck until the victim's head is severed from his body. The video then shows the boy holding the head aloft by the hair while spectators chant "Allahu akbar", which translates to "God is great". The background soundtrack to the video is a droning Islamic chant praising Osama bin Laden and the fugitive Taliban leader Mullah Muhammad Omar.

  • May 16, 2007, 10:17 p.m. CST

    pockybot the village idiot

    by classyfredblassy

    You do know that Pearl was communicating with the Tailiban folks via e-mail months before he got there? The whole thing was a set-up so they could behead a somewhat famous America jew. The low-life Tailiban shits pretended to be somewhat moderate in their e-mails, and even struck up a converation about their sick child, knowing Pearl had just had a baby, to gain his trust, you dumb fuck. It so amazing that now liberal panty wastes like yourself can come with excuses or fantasies to blame all of even the most barbaric acts of theses blood thirsty Muslims on US Necons. Great so they can kill who ever they want, and you toads go back to blaming the Jews and The NWO. FUCK YOU!

  • May 16, 2007, 10:17 p.m. CST

    pockybot the village idiot

    by classyfredblassy

    You do know that Pearl was communicating with the Tailiban folks via e-mail months before he got there? The whole thing was a set-up so they could behead a somewhat famous America jew. The low-life Tailiban shits pretended to be somewhat moderate in their e-mails, and even struck up a converation about their sick child, knowing Pearl had just had a baby, to gain his trust, you dumb fuck. It so amazing that now liberal panty wastes like yourself can come with excuses or fantasies to blame all of even the most barbaric acts of theses blood thirsty Muslims on US Necons. Great so they can kill who ever they want, and you toads go back to blaming the Jews and The NWO. FUCK YOU!

  • May 16, 2007, 10:29 p.m. CST

    watch this

    by livingwater

  • May 17, 2007, 7:55 a.m. CST

    Winterbottom is an extremely versatile filmmaker...

    by Jakes Nel

    ... I'm sure he can pull off whatever subject matter he chooses and give it a fresh spin. Watch In This World. Not so sure if casting Jolie was a good choice, though.