Saturday, December 01, 2007

A Mighty Heart: Heart-breaking

Genre: Drama
Director: Michael Winterbottom
Cast: Angelina Jolie, Dan Futterman, Irrfan Khan, Archie Panjabi
Storyline: As her journalist husband goes missing, Ms. Pearl has a long agonisingly arduous wait.
Bottomline: Hits you hard with what it does not show

When was the last time your heart actually went out to a person on screen that you actually shed a tear, shared her grief, felt her agony and hoped against hope waiting for the man who you right at the beginning of the film know will never come back?

A Mighty Heart transports you right inside the mind-space of Mariane Pearl in Karachi after her husband Daniel Pearl went missing as she, friends and the investigating team try to put together all available information and follow leads in their attempts to find the missing journalist.

The film plays out like a documentary with a hand-held video feel starting from the day of his disappearance, pieced together from various accounts of people who had seen him or heard from him during the day.

At no point in the film does the director ever show you things you could not have known. Like, how he was taken, where he was kept, how he tried to escape or the execution itself.

That, precisely, is what makes the canvas utterly credible and brutally realistic, yet remaining immensely sensitive. What they don’t show scares you more in this thriller that makes you forget the various lanes you traveled in search of a man who seems to have been taken by a ghost.

A Mighty Heart is that journey that leaves you shaken, choked and feeling extremely scared of the world we live in, yet comforting you in its final moments with the brave, steely resolve of the spirited woman who refuses to be terrorised.

Is it Angelina Jolie as Mariane Pearl? We forget. The actress wears the heart and soul of Ms. Pearl in the performance of her career, one that makes her Academy Award winning ‘Girl, Interrupted’ feat look like an out-take.

Is there a more natural actor on this planet than Irrfan Khan? Quite possibly, none. In one of the most understated performances of his career, Irrfan breathes so much credibility and authority in his role of the investigating officer. It is one of those roles that will never be considered for an award because it never, even for a fleeting second, looks like a performance.

The ensemble cast, with first-rate performances, makes that entire horrifying episode come alive in front of our eyes.

Disturbing, gut-wrenching, with a flicker of hope that deceives, only to die.

This film terrorises you. And yet, asks you not to be terrorised. Are you as strong as Ms.Mariane Pearl?


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