directed by Michael Winterbottom
USA 2007


In this day and age of Hollywood freelancing, I find it touching that some performers routinely appear in movies funded by specific studios. Angelina Jolie is one such actor. Despite her wild-child/independent-streak image, she has regularly made movies with Paramount: Lara Croft: Tomb Raider, Lara Croft: Tomb Raider--The Cradle of Life, Beyond Borders, Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow, A Mighty Heart, Beowulf. The Paramount-Angelina Jolie connection is rather odd because despite her celebrity, Jolie isn’t capable of opening movies the way that Julia Roberts and Jodie Foster can. Beyond Borders (a movie about landmines) probably was greenlighted to keep Jolie interested in additional Tomb Raider installments, but that series is dead at the moment.

A Mighty Heart is yet another message movie from a clearly socially-conscious activist. (Paramount’s box-office experience with Oliver Stone’s World Trade Center should’ve warned studio execs away from another post-9/11 on financial grounds, but with Jolie’s boyfriend Brad Pitt producing, I guess studio head Brad Grey just wanted to make his former production-company partner happy.) Unfortunately, Jolie doesn’t seem to understand that her approach to social activism is too in-your-face to be effective. It’s not that she’s’s just that her efforts impart a “holier-than-thou” attitude. The same problem plagues A Mighty Heart. When Jolie (as Marianne Pearl, the wife of beheaded Wall Street Journal reporter Daniel Pearl) and others grandstand about journalists’ rights and duties to the world, the movie stops dead in its tracks.

Nevertheless, you should give A Mighty Heart a try. Despite the heavy news coverage of Daniel Pearl’s kidnapping and murder, most people don’t know much about the Pearls’ background. Plus, these events take place in the few months right after 9/11 in Pakistan, so viewers can get a sense of how chaotic and important Pakistan is in strategic terms. At its best, the movie exhibits skillful moments that recall United 93’s docudrama examination of today’s unsettled world.

Yunda Eddie Feng


Theatrical Release: 21 May 2007 Cannes Film Festival

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DVD Review: Paramount - Region 1 - NTSC

Big thanks to Yunda Eddie Feng for the Review!

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Region 1 - NTSC

Runtime 108 min

2.35:1 Original Aspect Ratio

16X9 enhanced
Average Bitrate: 7.8 mb/s
NTSC 720x480 29.97 f/s

NOTE: The Vertical axis represents the bits transferred per second. The Horizontal is the time in minutes.


Audio DD 5.1 English, DD 5.1 French, DD 5.1 Spanish
Subtitles Optional English, French, Spanish
Features Release Information:
Studio: Paramount

Aspect Ratio:
Widescreen anamorphic - 2.35:1

Edition Details:
• Journey of Passion: The Making of A Mighty Heart
• Public Service Announcement
• Committee to Protect Journalists

DVD Release Date: 16 October 2007
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Chapters 13




The 2.35:1 anamorphic widescreen image is the usual clean, progressive image from a major studio. However, the picture quality varies wildly due to the use of mixed media (including 35mm film, HD video cameras, and analog NTSC video cameras) and jittery camerawork. Undoubtedly, there is a British tradition of documentary immediacy (director Michael Winterbottom has the same career roots as Paul Greengrass), but this movie’s jittery camerawork isn’t systematized as with, say, The Bourne Supremacy.

The DD 5.1 English track is dialogue-heavy given the subject matter, though the movie features the expected generically “tense” music (a lot of thumping beats to accompany the jittery camerawork). The rear surrounds show some activity when police and soldiers raid terrorists’ hideouts, but mostly, what you get are clear, well-reproduced voices from the front of the room.

You can also watch the movie with DD 5.1 French and DD 5.1 Spanish dubs. Optional English, French, and Spanish subtitles as well as optional English closed captions support the audio.

The DVD is a bit light on extras, though the bonus materials keep the movie’s focus on journalists’ rights.

“Journey of Passion: The Making of A Mighty Heart” is a standard-issue promotional featurette with talking-heads interviews and film clips.

“Public Service Announcement” is a commercial for the Daniel Pearl Foundation, a charity that contributes to journalists and musicians’ development.

“Committee to Protect Journalists” is a featurette about an organization’s goal of providing aid to journalists who are threatened or imprisoned.

Finally, there are previews of other Paramount releases.

 - Yunda Eddie Feng


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