The filmmakers behind the Daniel Pearl drama A Mighty Heart wanted to honour the slain journalist by doing what he did best — tell the straight story, unadorned by opinion, ideology or bias.
Starring Angelina Jolie as Pearl’s widow Mariane, A Mighty Heart unfolds in docudrama style, its just-the-facts approach putting viewers in the midst of the anguish, hope and heartache that family, friends and colleagues underwent in the weeks after his kidnapping in Pakistan in January 2002.
Sympathies clearly are with Pearl and his loved ones as victims but A Mighty Heart does not preach or condemn. Like last year’s Sept. 11 saga United 93, the film simply tells what happened, chronicling the horror and humanity one family experienced in our new world of terrorism.
“We were making a film about a journalist and felt we should try to reflect that,” said director Michael Winterbottom, who often applies documentary style and improvisation to heighten the sense of authenticity in his films.
“Mariane and Daniel are both journalists. Obviously, they were trying to report on events and make sure they give as fair a view as they could. We didn’t want to build any opinions into the film; to try to tell it as accurately as possible. Why change it? Why try to dramatize it? Tell it as truthfully as you can.”
Though the film features Angelina Jolie and was produced by her romantic partner Brad Pitt, the film is notably free of Hollywood trappings.
“This story and this time is something that everybody remembered,” Jolie said at May’s Cannes Film Festival, where the film premiered. “Even studio heads actually care about this, they care about Danny Pearl and they care about Mariane.”
- A Mighty Heart opens today.