June 28th, 2007

A mighty poor documentary

I haven’t seen it and probably won’t, because I don’t go to the movies often and this one doesn’t sound very good. And reading this review of the Danny Pearl story “A Mighty Heart” only reinforces that notion.

Daniel Pearl’s friend and colleague Asra Q. Nomani seems incensed that the movie doesn’t portray anything like the Danny she knew, respected, and platonically loved. She cooperated with the film’s development, thinking the movie “had the potential to be meaningful” and would explain Pearl’s passion for reporting as well as tell the story of the team that searched for him so vigorously and yet futilely. Nomani also hoped the movie would spark what she refers to as “a search for the truth behind Danny’s death,” which she feels has not yet been learned (not sure about that last part, but I’m fairly certain it doesn’t involve George Bush; she sounds like a relatively sensible woman).

Sensible yes, but naive about Hollywood. Please, someone, let me know when has Hollywood ever done right by a true story?

The fact that, as Nomani points out, the movie has been turned into a vehicle for star Jolie, and Pearl has become, as she says, “a cameo in his own murder”—and a bland, boring cameo at that, unlike the exceptionally witty and charismatic Pearl—is hardly surprising. Nor is the fact that details of the kidnapping are botched to make it seem more dramatic and simplistic, such as having Pearl receive (and ignore) a series of three warnings not to meet in a public place with the man he was due to interview.

Never happened, says Nomani. But it makes for a more easily “readable” story line, so who cares if it trashes Pearl’s memory by insulting his intelligence and caution?

Not the movie industry. Nor should the somewhat naive Nomani have expected it to. After all, this is the same Hollywood that cast the non-athlete (and left-handed) Tony Perkins as right-handed Red Sox player Jimmy Piersall, that simplified and distorted Gandhi’s life with tremendous inaccuracy to the tune of eight Oscars, that provides a home for Oliver Stone’s “historical” shenanigans. Why would Daniel Pearl’s story be any different?

10 Responses to “A mighty poor documentary”

  1. Nyomythus Says:

    What seemed extraordinarily bizarre and indocible on her part, of which she should have been infused with some notion of ethics by mere proximity to the topic of the movie set, was Angelina Jolie dissing freedom of the press when she tried to censor all her interviews.

  2. University Update - George W Bush - A mighty poor documentary Says:

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  3. Ymarsakar Says:

    Angelina Jolie hates guns yet she got the role to act as a femme fatale gunning folks down.

    Hello people, if you haven’t realized yet that Hollywood sells illusion, better update yor virus protection suite. Cause your system has been perverted by backdoor propaganda.

  4. David Blue Says:

    “Please, someone, let me know when has Hollywood ever done right by a true story?”

    United 93 (2006)

    Grizzly Man (2005)

    We Were Soldiers (2002)

    100% accuracy you can’t have, but reasonable honesty is a legitimate, achievable standard.

  5. David Blue Says:

    And I’ve read The Hollywood History of the World by George Macdonald Fraser, which suggests that Hollywood gets more right more often than you might think. Yes, there are lots and lots and lots of liberties. But there are also lots of things that an audience may think have to be made up, when in fact people were like that.

    An example not in the book: Mrs Brown (1997). Surely Billy Connolly’s antics as John Brown have to be made up, a comic being exaggerated for effect, since this is only a movie? Apparently not.

    Movies that falsify real people should not get a pass because “every movie” does that. Every movie does not do that.

    Patton (1970) is a pretty fair look at the famous American general, good and bad.

    It’s legitimate to want the truth, and wrong to give dishonest movies a free pass for not delivering the truth.

  6. camojack Says:

    Hooray for Hollywood…NOT!!!

  7. Ymarsakar Says:

    I think a lot of people think of Hollywood as the post-modern Hollywood, which doesn’t include the 50s. Or even some of the stuff from the 70s. It just sort of goes that when people got older, and the directors and power brokers got replaced by baby boomers, things started changing faster and faster.

    It used to be in movies that they abhorred abortion and cast it as something evil folks would advocate because it was easy. Now? Shrugs. Hollywood’s problem is not its social conventions, it is the fact that the liberal aristos want to shove their values unto us plebes, by funding Hollywood propaganda films like Munich.

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  10. jeff (theanjelinajolie.com) Says:

    What seemed extraordinarily bizarre and indocible on her part, of which she should have been infused with some notion of ethics by mere proximity to the topic of the movie set, was Angelina Jolie dissing freedom of the press when she tried to censor all her interviews

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Previously a lifelong Democrat, born in New York and living in New England, surrounded by liberals on all sides, I've found myself slowly but surely leaving the fold and becoming that dread thing: a neocon.
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