Thursday, January 3, 2008

Pleasantly surprised: A Mighty Heart

Whoa did I cry. 

This movie was sort of like a docu-drama but not in the vapid, over-acted type of way. I've admired Angelina Jolie's humanitarian pursuits for awhile now but not really her acting. Naturally, I wasn't expecting much from the acting in this movie. At the risk of propping up your expectations, I would say that she was quite good and brought depth Marianne Pearl's character. Most of the time, I don't think she transcends her celebrity enough for the audience to forget she is Angelina and actually get lost in the film. Though when your talking about crap like Tomb Raider and Beowulf, I'm not sure the audience really cares. (NB: I really liked her acting/hated her character in Girl Interrupted) Anyway, I think she is pretty  successful in this film about doing just that, transcending - I only thought, "Hey look, it's a wig and pregnant belly wearing Angelina" a handful of times.

The rest of the film on the other hand was really great. I expected a drama and while there was quite a bit, naturally, given the subject matter, I think the storytelling was well done. I really appreciate when filmmakers are able to make you feel like you're experiencing a story in the way it really happened.  Some find such films boring or possessing an erratic pace, but that's exactly what I love. Life is often just like that, erratic and messy, not neat, tidy and in ordnung like we want or imagine it to be in our visions of "one day."

The film is really the story of how things unravelled from the first moments when Marianne began to suspect Daniel had gone missing through to the tragic outcome.  A lot of detail on the investigation is provided throughout and the whole kidnapper plot was actually quite complex, something I hadn't before appreciated. I actually felt like I got a feel for Pakistan I hadn't ever been exposed to as nearly the entire movie takes place there. I was also quite impressed by how resourceful Marianne was as well as how sophisticated her psychological state was during and after the frenzy to find her husband. 

Oddly, though it was deeply sad, the film left me with an inspired sense of calm that I hadn't anticipated.

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