Tuesday, November 06, 2007

Capsule Review: A Mighty Heart

I figured I'd bring back the capsule reviews now that I'm seeing way more movies and we're getting into the fat part of the fall film season. I'll still try to update the sidebar, if only for posterity's sake.

Movie: A Mighty Heart
Director/Studio: Michael Winterbottom / Lionsgate
10 Word Review: Daniel Pearl's widow gets not-undeserved hero's treatment; could've hit harder.
Best Thing About It: Due to the fact that the movie is almost exclusively concerned with showing us Marianne Pearl as a beatific, strong, wordly widow, the movie rests entirely on Angelina Jolie's shoulders. She delivers, certainly -- it's easily the best performance she's given in nearly a decade -- but I have to wonder what she could have done if the film had challenged her more.
Worst Thing About It: With Daniel Pearl's death being so widely known before the movie even begins, the movie flirts with a lack of tension, which you'd think would be impossible. But that's what happens when your main character has nothing to do but sit at home and wait by the phone. You don't have to Hollywoodize this story to make it compelling, but you do have to dig into the characters a bit more than this movie does.
Best Performance: Jolie, certainly. Though I was also partial to Archie Panjabi as Marianne's closest confidant.
Oscar Prospects: If the right pieces fall into place, I could see Jolie nabbing a Best Actress nom, but already I'm seeing her pegged as the "celebrity" entry, as in "Well, such-and-such Deserving Indie Contender might get in. That is, if they don't value celebrity over merit and nominate Angelina Jolie." That kind of sucks if she gets pegged like that, because it's a better performance than that kind of statement implies.
Grade: B-


jessica said...

Doesn't it depress you more to watch people struggle to even come up with 5 worthy female performances each year? Or to see nominations that in another year wouldn't even be on the dark horse list? I know a lot of lip service is paid to the notion of "no good roles for women" but it seems to me like the impact isn't really felt until awards season, and even then only barely acknowledged. I suppose there's a benefit to the scarcity in so much as it allows early-year performances and comedic performances to get a lot more attention than they ever would for a man, but if it's all the same I think I'd rather see the rampant overabundance of contenders that is rather commonplace for men.

StickyKeys said...

Joer! American Gangster! What say you?

Deirdre said...

I thought Irfan Khan was the best part of the film, myself.

Joe R. said...

American Gangster: haven't seen it yet. It's 2 and a half hours! Hopefully soon.

Irfan Khan: Yes, he was great. I really want to see him in The Namesake.

StickyKeys said...

I must say the time really flew by. Didn't you see the Departed? And it wasn't nearly as wordy as that ;)

It was truly fantastic. Whenever I get some time off work (shyeah right!) I'm going to do a write up on it. But I was wondering what you thought in the meantime.

Joe R. said...

Yeah, I kind of wasn't crazy about The Departed. And I don't care for Russell Crowe, and Denzel is always the same amount of Denzel in everything, but I will eventually see it.

StickyKeys said...

Normally I completely agree about Denzel and his Rainbow Brite teeth, but this time I actually got lost in his character which is always fun anyway, but additional fun when you're not expecting it.

Also, I had to do some major channelling of Frank Lucas that night when a cop tried to stop me for no reason that made sense so I probably hold more of a personal connection to the movie.

It saved my insurance!