A Mighty Heart Blu-ray Review
Daniel and Mariane Pearl were journalists in Pakistan during and after the U.S. invasion of Afghanistan. Mariane (Angelina Jolie) was pregnant in January 2002, and, just before the couple planned to leave Pakistan, Daniel (Dan Futterman) arranged a final interview. He thought he was to meet an Islamicist sheik in a Karachi restaurant. Instead he was kidnapped by the National Movement for the Restoration of Pakistani Sovereignty. When he did not return home, Mariane and fellow journalist Asra Nomani (Archie Panjabi) alerted the American Embassy and the WSJ, who, working with a dedicated Pakistani CID Captain (Javid Habib), tried desperately to find Daniel.
Director Michael Winterbottom’s documentary style underscores the reality of the situation as it unfolds but never impedes the drama of Mariane’s restrained fear and the race, at once methodical and chaotic, through the back alleys of Karachi to find Daniel’s kidnappers. I normally dislike handheld cameras, but most of “A Mighty Heart” takes place in the Pearls’ home, where Mariane, Asra, colleagues, American security agent Randall Bennett (Will Patton), and the Captain try to make sense of Daniel’s contacts and their labyrinthine connections. This could be dull, but the camera gets us into the middle of it, so we feel their triumphs and setbacks.
Despite the high emotions and gruesome outcome, there is no melodrama. Performances are understated. Angelina Jolie is the powerful center of this film, conveying Mariane’s resolve to hold herself together in the face of terror, bureaucracy, and politics. I love the whiteboard on which Mariane and Asra illustrate the connections between all of the parties that may link to Daniel. What starts out as a way to make sense of the situation ultimately reveals a complexity and disorder that is impossible to grasp. Regardless of what one thinks of the Pearls’ politics, “A Mighty Heart” is a superb examination of the Muslim world’s ideological battles and their human consequences.
Movie Content: 3.5/5
The print is presented in 1080p/AVC MPEG-4 with a 2.35:1 aspect ratio. Colors look good providing a solid color palette. Black levels are also fine, yet do not stand out. Flesh tones are accurate and natural. I did notice some print issues throughout the film, but they weren’t anything that became overly distracting. There is some subtle grain throughout helping fit in with the film’s overall feel and tone.
Print Quality: 4/5
The audio is presented in Dolby TrueHD 5.1 mix. This is not a mix that will blow you away, but the rears do provide several moments of excellent sounding effects from the score. The score is very good and fits the film well. The dialogue is clean and clear through the center channel. This is a well balanced mix.
Audio Quality: 4/5
- A Journey of Passion:The Making of A Mighty Heart
- Public Service Announcement
- Committee to Protect Journalists
- Theatrical Trailer [HD]
Special Features: 3.5/5
The Final Word
‘A Mighty Heart’ is a good film, but not a great one. The film does tell the true story of journalist Daniel Pearl’s kidnapping and murder in post 9/11. On Blu-ray the film has a nice image quality that surpasses the DVD which I initially viewed on release last year. I highly recommend this film as a rental, with very little replay value.
Overall Rating: 4/5