“A Mighty Heart” describes the struggle to find Daniel Pearl, the American journalist abducted in January 2002 in Pakistan, and who was later killed. The film, based on Marianne Pearl’s memoirs, begins on the day of The Wall Street Journal reporter’s disappearance. His pregnant wife, Marianne Pearl, assisted by Daniel’s colleagues and friends, has to navigate through the scores of investigators, government officials, local contacts and reporters in her search for her husband. She has to deal with false hopes, as well as and with the kidnappers’ irrealistic unrealistic demands.
The movie has an all-star lineup, including Angelina Jolie, disturbingly convincing in the role of Mariane Pearl, Dan Futternman, Will Patton, Bollywood stars Archie Panjabi, and Irrfan Khan. Filmmaker Michael Winterbottom, who previously directed "Welcome to Sarajevo,” and last year’s "The Road to Guantanamo," has created a powerful docudrama that keeps alive not only the memory of Daniel Pearl, his ordeal and his death, but also his legacy, his belief in dialog and his everlasting quest for truth. A good reminder that the always abstract statistics of journalists murdered each year hide a reality of families torn apart, lives wrecked and children permanently traumatized.
The movie comes to grips with the serious issue of press freedom. Daniel’s death has at the very least served the purpose of highlighting the immeasurable risks taken by journalists around the globe to keep us informed and the need to show solidarity with those reporters in jeopardy who refuse to give in to the fear and hatred that terror inspires. As Marianne wrote: “Danny lost his life, but he won, he won a bitter but definitive victory”.
Go see “A Mighty Heart”. You will be moved, disturbed and hopefully even changed by it.
Reporters Without Borders
In the 5 years since Daniel Pearl’s death, nearly 230 journalists have been killed in the line of duty. On January 23, 2002, Mariane Pearl’s world changed forever. Her husband Daniel, the South Asia Bureau chief for the Wall Street Journal, was researching a story on shoe bomber Richard Reid. The story drew them to Karachi where a go-between had promised access to an elusive source. As Danny left for the meeting, he told Mariane he might be late for dinner. He never returned.
In the face of death, Danny’s spirit of defiance and his unflinching belief in the power of journalism led Mariane to write about his disappearance, the intense effort to find him and his eventual murderer in her memoir A Mighty Heart: The Brave Life and Death of My Husband Danny Pearl. Six months pregnant when the ordeal began, she was carrying a son that Danny hoped to name Adam. She wrote the book to introduce Adam to the father he would never meet. Transcending religion, race and nationality, Mariane’s courageous desire to rise above the bitterness and hatred that continues to plague this post 9/11 world, serves as the purest expression of the joy of life she and Danny shared.
Starring Academy Award® winner Angelina Jolie (Girl, Interrupted) as Mariane Pearl, and Dan Futterman, Oscar®-nominated for his Capote screenplay, as Daniel Pearl, A Mighty Heart is directed by Michael Winterbottom (The Road to Guantanamo, Tristram Shandy) and produced by Brad Pitt and Dede Gardner for Plan B Entertainment (Year of the Dog, THE Departed) and Andrew Eaton for Revolution Films (The Road to Guantanamo). John Orloff (BAND OF BROTHERS) wrote the screenplay.
A Mighty Heart is at cinemas from September 21. Cert 15