A Mighty Heart

I'm not the most assiduous newspaper reader, so I have to confess that I didn't know (or at least had forgot) how this film – the story of the kidnap of American journalist Daniel Pearl in Pakistan in 2002 - would turn out.

In fact, I watched the first two-thirds of A Mighty Heart convinced that there would be a happy ending, which only made the realisation that this wasn't going to be the case all the more shocking.

The film itself is a movie version of the book by Pearl's Dutch-Cuban wife Mariane and focuses not so much on Pearl's abduction and ultimate murder as on the frantic attempts by US and Pakistani authorities to find him.

In that respect, it is like a cross between a documentary and a thriller – except that everyone (except me) knows the gruesome outcome.
But it is also a testament to love, courage and the indomitability of the human spirit, as personified by Mariane (beautifully played by Angelina Jolie) who somehow manages to maintain a composure and dignity throughout the horrifying ordeal.

And although it is dealing with the very recent past (or arguably the present), it avoids preaching, for the most part allowing viewers to draw their own conclusions on issues such as terrorism, religious extremism, torture etc.