Sunday, December 09, 2007

A Mighty Heart

Last night we watched the movie "A Mighty Heart". I call it a mighty movie. It's about the kidnapping and murder of Wall Street Journal correspondent Daniel Pearl. It's told from the perspective of his wife, Marianne (played by Angelina Jolie) - how things were normal until Daniel didn't come home and wouldn't answer his cell phone ... then the Pakistani police became involved, along with the US embassy, the State Department, hundreds of journalists, and millions of newswatchers.

This is one of the most sensitive portrayals of a crisis I've seen. All the actors, including Angelina Jolie, made their characters real. They weren't perfect, like so many movies make their heroes: they had flaws and weaknesses and strengths and were really just regular people caught up in extraordinary circumstances. In Hollywood, the characters are always making fantastic decisions and complicated plans and racing around in their Hummer and finding the culprits just in time to wrap it up before the next drama starts at the top of the hour. In this film, they did have some advanced skills, but nothing that competent journalists or police officers wouldn't have in real life, and they spent a lot of time having to wait for the phone to ring. Very realistic. Very lifelike. And very well done. And Jolie should get the Oscar just for the scene in which Marianne hears that Daniel is dead.

What was most surprising, for me, was that it's not a vengeful movie at all. Yes, terrible things were done to Daniel Pearl, but the movie doesn't dwell on the evil forces that killed him. Instead it brought a humanity to all the people involved, even the suspects rounded up in the often violent search. Marianne Pearl, who served as a consultant to the film, is Buddhist, and that religion's sensitivities could be felt throughout the story.

A wonderful movie. See it.

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