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A Mighty Heart

GEORGE W Bush’s so-called war on terror will ultimately be won or lost in the media, that all-seeing eye with the power to sway public opinion with a single, heart-rending image or impassioned report from behind enemy lines.

GEORGE W Bush’s so-called war on terror will ultimately be won or lost in the media, that all-seeing eye with the power to sway public opinion with a single, heart-rending image or impassioned report from behind enemy lines.

In their pursuit of these stories, journalists risk life and limb to expose the cold, shocking truth about the conflict.

Some of these brave men and women never return.

In 2002, the kidnapping and subsequent beheading of Wall Street Journal reporter Daniel Pearl in Pakistan shocked the world.

Working from the harrowing memoir of Daniel’s wife, Mariane, director Michael Winterbottom sketches events leading up to the abduction, and the reaction of authorities in Karachi.

When we first meet Daniel (Dan Futterman), he is poised to interview the enigmatic Sheikh Abd al Qadir Jilani.

Back in Karachi, his pregnant wife Mariane (Angelina Jolie), a French radio journalist, grows increasingly concerned when he doesn’t return.

Good friend Asra Q Nomani and Daniel's boss John Bussey rally round as the local police lock horns with US officials.

A photograph arrives confirming everyone’s worst fears – Daniel has been kidnapped and is being used as a pawn in the bitter war of words with the west.

Mariane and Co soon realise that the trail of emails, setting up the meeting with Sheikh Jilani, is bogus and Daniel has been lured into a trap.

Shot in Winterbottom’s usual verite style, A Mighty Heart is an extraordinary testament to the resilience of the human spirit.

Jolie is mesmerising in the lead role, delivering an Oscar-worthy performance as a defiant mother-to-be.

When Mariane finally learns of the video depicting Daniel’s execution, she lets out a primal scream of anguish that breaks the heart.

Supporting performances are equally powerful and Winterbottom shoots with sensitivity and detachment, avoiding any scenes of Daniel with the kidnappers or his horrific final moments.

An extraordinary film.

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