The business of journlists

Some people don't care for Michael Winterbottom's films. Not me, though. Even when they're not that good (9 Songs, Code 46), they're still eminently watchable. For his latest, A Mighty Heart, he's back to the handheld, gritty feel of 'In This World', but this time it's Pakistan that's the setting, specifically the crowded streets of Karachi. The story of Daniel Pearl is a difficult one to film, since the grim ending is already well known, but the film manages well to get across the search for him. Irfan Khan, last seen in The Namesake, is great as Captain, leading the hunt from the Pakistani side. The scenes where they're interrogating witnesses and such are really tense, just like they were in 'The Road to Guantanamo'. The FBI's involvement is a nice contrast - all "get out of the way!" and "this is our investigation now!" authority. Where the film lacked for me was as a character study - we didn't learn very much about Danny or particularly Mariane Pearl, and though she displayed determination and grief appropriately, I didn't feel for her. Maybe this was because Angelina Jolie is such an ubiquitous figure now, it was hard to see through her into the character. The film is compelling, though, and there's a terribly moving scene at the end when the Feds get the final video. The beheading is not shown onscreen, but the reactions from everyone are still harrowing to watch. The film is dead good, don't get me wrong, it just felt a little hollow.


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