Directed by: Michael Winterbottom.
Starring: Angelina Jolie, Dan Futterman, Archie Panjabi, Alyy Khan
I will say this again, as I always do in reviews for films like this....I am not politically minded, nor am I someone who ever followed worldwide events such as this, it is a personal choice, nothing hateful. Instead, I saw this film as a film, not to judge how accurate anything is.
The story follows the tragic, true accounts of Mariane Pearl, a French freelance journalist who is in Pakastan with husband Daniel Pearl, who is a Wall Street journalist who is covering different aspects of the war on terrorism. When Daniel leaves for a final meeting, he never returns and Mariane faces a major task of trying to find him. One thing I found to be a high point was the fact that Michael Winterbottom and John Orloff never delve into the accounts of why things happened (although some elements confused me as I did not follow any of these events), instead, they tell the story from Mariane's point of view (whihc is obvious, being adapted from her novel). Michael Winterbottom takes his hand held style into this film and it works out to be a very strong point. Shot documentary style, it is shot very up close and personal, putting us right in the middle of all this and it is very intense and uncomfortable to watch at times. Although I found the film to be slightly unfocused on an emotional level, what you do see of it comes from Angelina Jolie's performance. She is someone who showed acting potential in such films as Girl, Interrupted, she hasn't exactly picked roles that show it since then. In a very demanding role, she is an unexpected choice and without going into any race related issues, she delivers a very commanding, powerful and gripping performance, where a major turning point for her involves a scene near the end of the film when she hears news of her husband, the scene holds a large emotional core thanks to Angelina and it was really difficult to watch.
It is, in one sentence, very compelling filmmaking. Brilliantly shot and with compelling storytelling....and a performance from Angelina that deserves recognition from the Academy, it is a film sure to stay with you when you leave the theater.