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Friday, April 19
The Indiana Daily Student

'A Mighty Heart" (PG-13)Grade: B-

'Heart' broken by narrative

Don't believe the Jolie Oscar hype

n 2002, terrorists in Pakistan kidnapped Wall Street Journal correspondent Daniel Pearl while he was on his way to a supposed interview with Shiekh Gilani. Despite the best efforts of Pearl's pregnant wife Marianne and Pakistani officials to meet the terrorist's demands, Daniel Pearl was brutally slain. "A Mighty Heart" is Marianne's story.\nBased on a riveting true story, "Heart" really only has two problems. However, they are major ones. \nFor starters, its 100-minute run-time feels like three hours. The film struggles to show every ounce of time and manpower put into the investigation of the kidnapping of a man we never fully understand. We're never told why he so badly needed this interview (which many warned him against pursuing) or even what attracted the Pearls to Pakistan and the war in the Middle East to begin with. We aren't even given any type of background into how Daniel and Marianne met -- all we see is their wedding.\nSecond, I refuse to hop onto the potential Oscar nomination bandwagon for Angelina Jolie's performance. Granted, she plays the part well, keeping herself together through the ordeal up until the fated breaking point, but it was nothing spectacular. For an actress who generates so many headlines about the latest kid she is adopting, it is hard to see past Jolie's star persona in a role that demands shedding it entirely. Had a more unknown actress taken the part, it would likely have been more believable.\nAs the political thriller it sets out to be, "A Mighty Heart" works OK at best. I've grown weary of these films that find it necessary to photograph the Middle East with shaky, pseudo-documentarian camerawork. Here it only makes the viewing more complicated and a chore to keep up with. \nThree elements of the film are exceptional -- Dan Futterman's brief-but-committed performance as Daniel Pearl, Ifran Khan's weighty performance as the Pakistani captain in charge of the manhunt and director Michael Winterbottom's pursuit to make every film he tackles seem completely different from all the rest -- but "A Mighty Heart" fails to live up to its potential.

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