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A Mighty Heart

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A skilled actor vanishes into a role; a movie star appropriates it. Presence trumps character, with the star personifying Bertolt Brecht's alienation effect, and the movie merely the latest installment in a public myth. Angelina Jolie is the major alienation effect in A Mighty Heart, though she's not the only one. The hectic pizzazz with which hired gun Michael Winterbottom directs this tale of terrorism is another distraction, and so is the movie's true-life premise. A Mighty Heart is based on the case of Wall Street Journal reporter Daniel Pearl, who was abducted by jihadi extremists in Karachi and brutally executed on video, in part because he was a Jew. Based on the memoir by Daniel's wife, Mariane (Jolie), A Mighty Heart is characterized by sensational location work in swarming Karachi, a sense of near-constant frenzy, and Jolie's beauty. There's hardly a moment when the actress is onscreen that you can't sense the presence of makeup artists and hair stylists hovering just out of frame.

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