In 2002, Wall Street journalist Daniel Pearl was abducted and beheaded while on assignment in Pakistan. That horrific ordeal is lovingly recreated in the new film, A Mighty Heart (**** stars). Sure to be remembered later this year during awards season, this film could bring its star Angelina Jolie her second Academy Awards.
Based on the memoirs of Marianne Pearl, the film recreates the final days of Daniel's life as he was preparing to interview a Muslim Sheik when he was abducted. Marianne, six months pregnant at the time, enlists the aide of the Pakistanian as well as U.S. government to try to secure his release. The film takes viewers through the grueling process that ultimately led to Daniel's demise.
It has been such a long time since audiences have seen Jolie flex her dramatic acting muscles that she is known primarily as half of the Hollywood power couple, “Bradgelina,” as opposed to the Oscar winning actress from Girl, Interrupted. But her performance in this film is layered and multi-dimensional and finds her hitting every emotional note -- and scoring big time. She gives a quiet, retrained performance that draws audiences to her and allows them to wrap themselves in her emotional pain and subsequent loss. If eyes are the windows of the soul, Jolie's lets the audience swim in her irises and feel her joy and pain while enduring this terrible ordeal. She is brilliant and even in early in the summer, Jolie feels like a certain Best Actress Oscar nominee.
Dan Futterman stars as doomed journalist Daniel Pearl, who in a limited amount of screen time and several flashbacks conveys his burning love for his wife and unborn child. For people who may not be familiar with the story, screenwriter John Orloff infuses the story with enough suspense and hope to keep audiences riveted to this heartbreaking story.
There has been a campaign for African-Americans to boycott the film because of the casting of Jolie as Marianne. With a mixed heritage that consists of Dutch-Jewish, Afro-Latino-Cuban, French and Chinese-Cuban bloodlines, the casting of Jolie works as well as says, Thandie Newtwon. The simple fact of the matter is that Jolie and her companion Brad Pitt's names and visibility help get the film made and widely distributed.
Historically, the summer movie season is about the big-budget blockbusters with A-list talent living out their super dreams. Well Jolie's film may not have a huge budget or explosions, but it is an emotional blockbuster that is a fitting tribute to journalists worldwide -- and that’s a mighty love.