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I think it is an important film, as well as a great film.

You wonder whether anyone said to Pitt/Jolie at the start, "What's the point of a film about the hunt for a kidnapped journalist, when everyone already knows the outcome?" Indeed, Daniel Pearl's beheading by Jihadists (recorded on video by the kidnappers) hangs heavily over the film. But it still works, because it's a film that tries to answer the question, how does a woman cope? How does she survive something so terrible? To be a pregnant woman, whose husband has disappeared, who has been accused of being a CIA/Mossad agent, to then be murdered so atrociously and so publicly.

What stands out, among the inevitable chaos of the Third World urban setting, is the camaraderie. These various individuals who came together to try to rescue Daniel, to protect Marianne. The tenacious police work.

Being a Michael Winterbottom film, it does not flinch from showing the crushing everyday poverty in Pakistan. The privileged lifestyles of the westerners, with their fine wine, servants and 4x4s. The torture of suspects.

So when the moment comes, and the video camera is unwrapped like a relic, so grimly portentous - it is expected, the heart rending outpouring of grief. Yet, after the journey, it feels necessary to go the final step.

I don't know how Marianne could have brought herself to watch that video. I do believe Daniel was brave at the last, in a way that I could never be, and that is a small act of defiance in a tragedy that is essentially absurd. The reason for his kidnap was supposedly to demand an end to suspects being held at Guantanamo. The film ends with a comment that the suspected murderer is now himself in Guantanamo. The cycle goes on. Marianne and her son Adam must live their lives. But there is never truly any justice.

Added by adsie
9 years ago on 11 November 2008 04:48

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