Beyond Borders is an epic tale of the turbulent romance between two star-crossed lovers set against the backdrop of the world's most dangerous hot spots. Academy Award winner Angelina Jolie... See full summary »
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. When Danny doesn't return, Mariane initiates a search. Pakistani police, American embassy personnel, and the FBI examine witnesses, phone records, e-mails, and hard drives. Who has him? Where is he? There's also the why: because of U.S. abuse of prisoners at Guantanamo, because of a history of Journal cooperation with the CIA, because Pearl is a Jew? Through it all, Mariane is clearheaded, direct, and determined. Written by
There are few billboards shown on the roads of Karachi, which were not imaginable in early 2002, i.e. Telenor Mobile Service (introduced in March 2005), Qarshi Jam-e-Shirin's latest campaign etc. See more »
The day after 9-11, Danny and I flew to Pakistan. He was the South Asia Bureau Chief for the Wall Street Journal, and I was working for French Public Radio. Thousands of journalist from all over the world arrived in Islamabad to cover the war in neighboring Afghanistan. On the 7th October, bombing began.
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Essentially what we have here is a pretty well done, seemingly step by step account of the investigation into the kidnapping of Wall Street Journal reporter Daniel Pearl in 2002, which of course ended with his tragic murder. It is not without weaknesses. Primarily, watching close to two hours about an investigation that doesn't seem to be going anywhere and eventually accomplishes nothing gets a bit dry after a while - especially because we know how this is going to end. There comes a point when you just want to fast forward through it to the end. Having said that, the strengths definitely outweigh the weaknesses.
Director Michael Winterbottom does a pretty good job of establishing atmosphere. From the very beginning, the chaotic nature of Karachi sets a foreboding tone to the movie, and, although I sometimes find archival footage in movies to be of little use, in "A Mighty Heart" I thought Winterbottom did a pretty good job of blending the archival stuff (particularly clips of Colin Powell and Pervez Musharaff) into the story. Throughout the movie the viewer wonders how Pearl's murder is going to be portrayed, and, again, kudos to Winterbottom. In fact, and thankfully, the murder isn't portrayed at all. What we see are the reactions of those who see the video for the first time and their reactions to the ghastly scene on the tape is sufficient to establish what happened. There was (to me at least) an interesting scene that lasted only a couple of minutes dealing with a typical "ugly American" female FBI agent, who bursts into the Pearl home, ignores the Pakistani authorities, tries to take charge and orders the room "cleared" because she gets a phone call she wants no one else to hear. She disappears immediately after this scene and was never seen again. I just for some reason found it rather typical of how I would expect U.S. authorities to act in a foreign country, and her portrayal was, of course, balanced by the very sympathetic portrayal of the kindhearted Randall Bennett (Will Randall) - an official from the U.S. Embassy who provides great support to Mariane Pearl.
Angelina Jolie was, I understand, a bit of a controversial choice for the part (largely for ethnic reasons) but she put on an excellent performance as Mariane, hopelessly lost in the situation, pregnant with Daniel's baby and totally dependent on others to try to save her husband. Her reaction to the news of Daniel's death was raw with emotion. Ethnic controversy aside, no one can deny that Jolie was superb in this role. Her performance and Winterbottom's direction make the movie worthwhile. 8/10
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