On January 23, 2002, Wall Street Journal reporter Daniel Pearl is to fly from Karachi to Dubai with his pregnant wife, Mariane, also a reporter. On the day before, with great care, he has arranged an interview in a café with an Islamic fundamentalist cleric. This is the story of the disappearance of Daniel Pearl and the follow-on events of searching, his captivity and ultimate freedom.
Rated R for language.
Runtime: 108 min
Country: USA | UK
Language: English | French | Urdu | Arabic
Company: Paramount Vantage
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Faith Review of Film — 04/07/10
by Mason Todd
Film Title: Might Heart
Director: Michael Winterbottom
Original release form/venue: Theaters
Current Availability and formats: DVD
Story elements: This is the story of the kidnapping of American born Jewish journalist Daniel Parr who was on assignment in Pakistan, and the courage and fortitude of his pregnant wife Marianne in the weeks following his kidnapping and eventual execution. The other truly important character in this film is Pakistan’s CID Chief Javed Habib. This Muslim man is the very essence of what is good in the world. Even with his knowledge that Daniel is Jewish his determination to find and return Daniel to his wife never wavers or fades. While the terrorist represent the very worst in humanity, Javed represents the very best.
Every actor/actress does an amazing job of portraying the very real characters of this film. While there are a couple of action pact scenes outside of the house, the majority of the movie is filmed form within the four walls of the home where Marianne is staying. The film is most definitely actor driven primarily by Angelina Jolie as Marianne Parr and Mohammed Afzal as Chief Habib, but the ensemble of actors in this film is the strength of the movie giving it the life, suspense, and motion that pulls the viewer into the film.
Film Language elements: The setting of the film is quite basic, having 90 % of the film take place in the home that Marianne is staying in Pakistan. The use of color is not of significance, but the lighting of the film is very important in combination with situations in the film. The entire movie was filmed using a hand held camera most often on the shoulder of a camera person. Each scene had anywhere from three to fifteen shots, according to the special features on the DVD, in order to capture the essence of each situation. Many of the scenes involved several different people around a central table and the need for the camera to capture each of the people at that table was vital to capture the emotion and mode of the scene. Often the camera would give a panned view of all the
parties involved in the scene and then switch is close ups of each of the actors/actresses in order to capture the facial expressions and emotions.
Audience/Cultural Context elements: I would use this film with young adults to older adults. This film is extremely challenging to the viewer, especially American viewers, in their ability to look critically rather than emotionally at the events taking place in the film, especially in the context of 9/11.
Theology is found: Outside the film to be brought by us in to conversation with touchpoint clips in the film
Theological themes for conversation: Some theological themes for conversation would be the human condition, brokenness, and community.
Suggested type of conversation: This conversation would be one where I would start with the question of where do you see brokenness. From there I where community is found and use guiding question to the understanding of how community works. I would finally ask the question, how does the community seen in this film represent how communities of faith should act and respond to one another?
Recommended Ways to view and engage the film: I believe the entire film should be seen. There is no way to truly understand everything that is going on in this film if you do not see the entire thing. Each scene is built upon the one before it, so a viewer would not be able to fully understand a scene picked out from the end of the movie without having seen the scenes leading up to that point.
Concluding or summary remarks: A Might Heart is a wonderful film that depicts the very best of human nature and the very worst, and the struggle to understand both. I would recommend anyone see this film, although it does have some cussing in it.
Mason has written the following to help you in forming theological conversations:
Theological Conversations: A Mighty Heart 04/07/10
Central conversation question/topic: Brokenness
Audience/learners: Adult study group
Amount of film used: Entire film
When film used: Film first
Goal of this conversation: Connect the brokenness found in this film with the brokenness of humanity.
How to focus the film: I would not give out any questions prior to the film viewing. As we have said before sometimes giving focus questions often limits what is seen in the film. I believe this is a film that does not require focus questions in order for a focused discussion to take place afterwards.
Questions to ask after film is viewed: Where do you see brokenness? Where do you see community?
Conversations partners: Section of the Brief Statement of Faith
We trust in God, whom Jesus called Abba, Father. In sovereign love God created the world good and makes everyone equally in God’s image male and female, of every race and people, to live as one community. But we rebel against God; we hide from our Creator. Ignoring God’s commandments, we violate the image of God in others and ourselves, accept lies as truth, exploit neighbor and nature, and threaten death to the planet entrusted to our care.
How conversation partners brought into conversation: After viewing the film and going through the questions from above, hand out this section of the Brief Statement of Faith to all participants. Ask them to read over this section and mark any parts that stand out to them. Follow up with these questions or something similar:
Having watched the film, where in the film do we see parallels to this section of the Brief Statement of Faith? What does this say about how we should live in the world? How should community look like?