Who's in It
Angelina Jolie, Dan Futterman, Irfan Khan, Archie Panjabi
The Basics: True story of Mariane Pearl, the wife of Wall Street Journal reporter Daniel Pearl, who was kidnapped and executed in Pakistan not long after 9/11. And if it weren't for the fact that Jolie is playing one of the main mighty-hearted people, you'd almost think it was a documentary. As it is, though, she's kind of too "big" to be in this.
What's the Deal? Here's what I mean. In spite of the fact that this is pretty much the best acting I've ever seen from her, you still don't forget for one second that she's Jolie with a perm and slightly darker makeup. She's never going to be one of those actors who can suddenly be like, "Hey, now I'm a Scottish coal miner." That kind of actor tends to stay out of Us Weekly and also tends to be named Philip Seymour Hoffman.
Ignore the Trailer and the Title: From the second I heard the title, I was worried that it was going to become some kind of triumph-of-the-human-spirit movie. And then I saw the sappy trailer, which only deepened my dread. But that turned out to be big psych-out like if you watched that The Shining-as-family-comedy-parody trailer on YouTube and then saw the actual movie. That's because
it's from director Michael Winterbottom, who can generally be counted on not to be boring. He can be kind of bloodless, but usually never dull. And in the end, it all comes off more like a police procedural and keeps you wrapped up in it even though you know it ends tragically.
Genre It Fits Most: Movies You See With Your Parents. Even though you'd rather just watch Mr. & Mrs. Smith again.