An intense, fast-moving film was made from journalist Mariane Pearl’s book about the kidnapping and murder of her husband Daniel, also a journalist, by Islamicist fanatics in Pakistan. The movie, bearing the same title as the book, is A Mighty Heart (2007) and is patently built around the theme of anti-American and anti-Jewish sentiment in Muslim jihadism.

Directed by Michael Winterbottom, Heart is a detailed piece of journalistic cinema like All the President’s Men, than which it is a better film. The stakes here are higher and the film knows it. Angelina Jolie is thoughtfully remarkable as Mariane Pearl, a stoic (and pregnant) woman who loves her husband. Denis O’Hare does some marvelously grounded acting as a Wall Street Journal publisher. Irrfan Khan is very good as a Pakistani police captain, and Will Patton (as Randall) is satisfyingly earthy. A Mighty Heart is earthy. And, in its own way, brutal.

Reviews by Dean