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The Wall Street Journal's Daniel (Dan Futterman) and his pregnant journalist wife Mariane (Angelina Jolie) are in Karachi where Danny is researching a story on shoe bomber Richard Reid. Promised an exclusive interview with a crucial source through an intermediary, Danny takes a taxi to the rendezvous restaurant, but doesn't return. It's soon evident he's been kidnapped. With help from local and US authorities, Mariane is at the centre of a desperate search for Danny and the hunt for his kidnappers, a small extremist group making demands that will not be met.

Review by Louise Keller:
There's a compelling urgency about this highly political film that tells the true story of the brutal and senseless murder of American journalist Daniel Pearl. Based on his widow Mariane's memoirs, Michael Winterbottom has created a riveting portrait of a brave and compassionate woman that allows us to feel as though we have partaken of her journey. Angelina Jolie is stunning, giving a hauntingly affecting performance as Mariane Pearl, who was 5 months pregnant at the time of her husband's disappearance in Karachi, while pursuing the source for his story on terrorism. It's an extraordinary portrayal and Jolie captures every nuance - from Mariane's soft French accent to her quiet sense of determination and restraint as we track the events during the 5 weeks after Daniel's disappearance.

With its improvised dialogue (much of which is unrehearsed) and hand-held camera, the film is documentary-like in the way it is shot, presented and edited with real-life footage and dramatic flash-backs. Dan Futterman, who penned the screenplay for Capote, effectively portrays Daniel Pearl, loving husband and professional journalist, and makes a profound impact while on screen. There's a great sense of place and the scenes in Karachi with its chaotic streets, poverty, aimlessly wandering cattle and frenzied bustle ring true on every level. Tension builds when Pearl fails to return after his 7pm meeting, and that's when the waiting begins. Emails, telephone tag, working with agencies, security agents and coping with the media frenzy become par for the course as does keeping calm every time the phone rings.

The investigation process as phone and computer records are pursued is fascinating and tempers are tested as circumstances increase in their intensity. There's real pain and anguish when the shocking news is finally brought to light, and it is impossible to forget Mariane's screams of pain as she tries to come to terms with her husband's brutal death. In this fast-changing world where terrorism is a fact of life, this is a pertinent tale and one that is overtly moving. The grace and courage of Mariane Pearl, as she thanks those who worked tirelessly to discover the truth, is a testament to the gentle optimism of the woman, who reminds us that terror cannot take hold, if we do not allow it to do so.

DVD special features include a behind the scenes documentary and a public service announcement about the Pearl Foundation.

Published February 14, 2008

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(US/UK, 2007)

CAST: Dan Futterman, Angelina Jolie, Will Patton, Archie Panjabi, Mohammed Afzal, Mushtag Khan, Daud Khan, Telal Saeed, Arif Khan, Tipu Taheer, Perinne Moran, Jeffry Kaplow

PRODUCER: Andrew Eaton, Dede Gardner, Brad Pitt

DIRECTOR: Michael Winterbottom

SCRIPT: John Orloff (book by Mariane Pearl)


EDITOR: Peter Christelis

MUSIC: Harry Escott, Molly Nyman


RUNNING TIME: 108 minutes


AUSTRALIAN RELEASE: October 18, 2007


SPECIAL FEATURES: A Journey of Passion: The Making of A Mighty Heart/ Public Service announcement - Pearl Foundation with Christiane Amanpour/Committee to protect journalists.


DVD RELEASE: February 14, 2008

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