The Good

As tragic as this story it is it is saved by its main character's hopeful message.

The Bad

I would have thought this release would have been released with more fanfare.

A Mighty Heart recounts the moving tale of the slaying of Wall Street Journal writer, Daniel Pearl (played by Dan Futterman). The film follows his wife Mariane (played Angelina Jolie) as she pieces together where her husband is and eventually what happened to him. While a lot of this movie shows the procedural work that she did in tracking her husband down, it also shows us the relationship between Mariane and Daniel. We are taken into this world of two very different people and we see how they shared their lives together. In the end, this gives the proceedings a great deal of weightiness even though many viewers know the ultimate outcome going into this film.

The entire cast of A Mighty Heart does a very good job here of telling this story. Angelina Jolie seems to be getting the lionshare of the accolades for her performance, but I think that this movie wouldn't work the way it does if it wasn't for the overall strength of the cast, and Michael Winterbottom's strong direction.

Features

Public Service Announcement

Christiane Amanpour is shot against a black background as she talks about the importance of journalists in our society. She talks about how many have been killed and those numbers are increasing. She then discusses how viewers of this PSA can help stop the bloodshed. This is available as a separate segment on the DVD or as something to be watched before the movie starts.

Committee to Protect Journalists

"Journey of Passion" Making Of Featurette

I guess the fact that Angelina Jolie is interviewed on this featurette is supposed to mean something? (They announce it on the DVD cover). She doesn't say anything that we wouldn't expect from her, however. She talks about how the slaying of Daniel Pearl really marked "the beginning of this kind of journalism" being shown on TV screens in homes throughout the world. The creators of this movie talk about using this movie to celebrate what Daniel and Mariane went through together, and then we hear about how the actors did research and prepared for their roles. This is worth a look but don't expect too much.

Video

Widescreen Version - Enhanced for 16:9 TVs. I was expecting this movie to be shot and cut like Syriana. Don't ask me why I thought this but I did and I was right about how it was shot. The look of this movie was pretty straight forward. It doesn't seem like Winterbottom or his director of photography Marcel Zyskind did much to alter its otherwise natural setting. Some scenes appeared blown out here and there but that seemed to be in an effort to give this movie a semi-documentary look.

Audio

Dolby Digital - English, French and Spanish 5.1 Surround. Subtitled in English, French and Spanish. The audio for this movie was good but there wasn't anything about it that really made me think it was anything special. It was good, I never found that I wasn't able to hear anything, but I would've have thought that this sort of movie would have used the audio to get us inside the characters more.

Package

On the front cover of this DVD we get fragmented looking images of Jolie, Futterman and other members of the cast. The back cover gives us more pictures from this movie, a small description of what A Mighty Heart is about, a Special Features listing, a credits list and technical specs.

Final Word

Lets be honest, regardless of what Angelina Jolie or any of the other people schilling for this movie say, A Mighty Heart is quintessential Oscar bait. It was for these reasons that I initially stayed away from it in theaters, but I am glad that I was given a chance to reconnect with it on DVD because I feel that this movie really has something to say. Getting passed the idea that we are watching a somewhat heavy handed film, made by heavy handed actors, I think that the ultimate message of this movie (that's touched upon during the "Making Of" featurette) is that this woman, despite everything she and her family went through, came away with the belief that we really do need to have a dialogue with people who come from different places, cultures, beliefs and ideals than us.

A Mighty Heart is the kind of film that has you thinking about it long after the credits have rolled.

A Mighty Heart was released June 22, 2007.