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Thursday, 24 July 2014

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DVD Review: A Mighty Heart

THOSE who thought they knew the breadth of Angelina Jolie’s acting ability from lightweight action flicks such as Tomb Raider and Mr & Mrs Smith will be made to think again after seeing the captivating new release A Mighty Heart.

Jolie’s performance is understated but mesmerising in this true story depicting the kidnapping in Pakistan of American journalist Daniel Pearl (Dan Futterman) and the desperate search for his whereabouts.

The film begins with a voiceover telling how Pearl – a reporter on the Wall Street Journal – left the States with his French wife Mariane (Jolie) for Islamabad the day after the 9/11 terrorist attacks.

The backdrop of the war is naturally grim and the bustling environment in which the couple live and work is captured perfectly.

Fast forward to the present and the Pearls – with Mariane now pregnant – are preparing to leave Islamabad but only after Daniel has written one last story exposing Pakistani links with extremism.

When he doesn’t return from his interview with a man named Sheikh Gilani, the horrific reality of Pearl’s kidnapping slowly unfolds.

The Pearls’ home soon becomes a command centre for United States intelligence officials and Pakistan’s counter-terrorist division.

A Mighty Heart is a tense and disturbing film to watch because the sequence of events – the televised appeal for Pearl’s release, the kidnapper’s demands, the videos on the internet – are all too tragically familiar.

But the brilliance in Jolie’s grounded performance – the way her character steadfastly refuses to lose her dignity and focus amid such desperation – gives the film hope in extreme adversity.

Produced by Brad Pitt, A Mighty Heart doesn’t have convoluted action sequences or dramatic music, nor does it need them.

What it does have is a desperate yet powerful true story, that is subtly played out to create a gripping film.

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