Day By Day

Saturday, June 23, 2007

A Not So Mighty Star Vehicle

We will be giving "A Mighty Heart" a pass -- in part because I am sick and tired of Angelina Jolie and her antics, but mostly because of stuff like this:

The writer is Asra Nomani, who worked with Danny Pearl.

For me, watching the movie was like having people enter my home, rearrange the furniture and reprogram my memory. I'd known it was a gamble when I agreed to help with a Hollywood version of Danny's kidnapping, but I'd done it because I thought the movie had the potential to be meaningful. I'd hoped it could honor the man I'd worked alongside for nine years at the Journal by explaining why he was so passionate about his work as a reporter. I'd hoped that it would tell the story of the unique team of law enforcement agents, government officials and journalists -- of varying religions, nationalities and cultures -- that had searched for him. And I hoped it could spark a search for the truth behind Danny's death.

But the moviemakers and their PR machine seemed intent on two very different and much shallower goals: creating a mega-star vehicle for Angelina Jolie, who plays Mariane, and promoting the glib and cliched idea that both Danny and Mariane were "ordinary heroes."

I think Danny would have rolled his eyes at that.

Read it here.

And of course, there's the usual blame the US for terrorism crap. I'm not kidding. Here's Libertas on the film.

This tragic and important story is told by director Michael Winterbottom in a quasi-documentary style complete with skaky cam, jump cuts, idle chatter, and a willful determination to see Jolie win an Oscar and not portray jihadists as the dangerous madmen they are....

The only “terrorist” behavior shown on screen is done by our side. Our government teams up with the Pakistan anti-terrorism squad to find Pearl and along the way the “good” guys torture, threaten, and even talk about how much they enjoy it. We only see Daniel Pearl through photographs sent by his kidnappers. Their treatment of him is never dramatized and Winterbottom doesn’t even bother to let us hear Pearl’s execution videotape, much less see it.
And there's this from Debbie Schussel:

As one would expect from the Jolie-Pitts, "A Mighty Heart" is mostly NOT about the Al-Qaeda murder of Daniel Pearl, killed in cold blood specifically because he was a Jew. In fact, the movie minimizes that, instead repeatedly blaming America for its treatment of Guantanamo Bay prisoners as the reason Pearl was cut into the ten pieces like a slaughtered chicken, the state in which his body was found. (That's no surprise, given that the Jolie-Pitts hired as "A Mighty Heart's" director, Michael Winterbottom, who also directed the propaganda fake-umentary, "The Road to Guantanamo.") In "A Mighty Heart," we see no depiction at all of Pearl's captivity or even kidnapping by Qaeda thugs, but for a few re-enactments of tiny parts of the famous Pearl video.

Most shocking, we get an onscreen repeat of the oft-told Muslim myth that 4,000 Jews didn't show up for work at the World Trade Center on 9/11, because the Jews planned the attacks. The movie provides no refutation of this myth or any indication that it is invalid. (It shouldn't be shocking, though, given Jolie's anti-Israel and pro-Palestinian activities.)

And instead of depictions of Daniel Pearl's treatment at the hand of Muslims, Jolie/Pitt repeatedly hit you over the head with a baseball bat that the hero--not the murderers--in the Daniel Pearl story is a Muslim, a Pakistani Police Captain.


Paramount has done a disservice to Danny Pearl, to the country, and to film art with this stuff. I will not support it.