I knew what happened to Daniel Pearl but regardless, I wanted to will the circumstances to be different…for him to turn out okay. My heart ached for his wife, I can’t imagine how devastated she felt. There were many facts in this movie that I did not know about Daniel Pearl and his kidnapping. I think watching it on the news at the time was too difficult as they talked about why he might have been targeted. So I learned much while grieving for this reporter who was to leave just one day after he was kidnapped by Al Queda. If only he had not went to interview one last person before they left for America, that is what kept running through my head. This movie is based on Mariane Pearl’s novel about the events of her husband’s kidnapping. Angelina Jolie plays Daniel Pearl’s wife in the film, totally different from the sexy vixen she usually plays.
I had to go back and rewind as when I turned off subtitles, it also turned off subtitles translating the languages other than English. I had turned it off as I understood the thick accented English but then long conversations were in other languages and not being translated. For much of the film, I could not read the subtitles as they were in white and very tiny. The film does include actual news footage in some instances and actual headlines from newspapers. Most of the film shows their apartment and the overcrowded streets of Pakistan.
The film starts with Daniel Pearl with his wife in Pakistan. Both are reporters. He leaves to conduct one last interview prior to leaving the next day for New York. Before he goes at night to the interview, he asks many people if it is safe and all say if they meet in a public restaurant, then yes. We see him get into a taxi, then stand and wait at a restaurant for his contact. Then it switches back to his wife who is getting worried about him. Daniel Pearl does not come home all night and she contacts the embassy but they are closed. Other reporters start calling everyone who knew about the interview and set up a board with who spoke to whom and when. The timeline gets very complicated as time goes along and more information is disclosed. The Pakistani police come to investigate, they are very eager to catch who has done this and find Daniel Pearl. Finally word from the terrorists claiming in a newspaper article that Daniel Pearl is a spy. His wife remembers back when he told a Pakistan man that he was Jewish. I had no idea that being Jewish would be so dangerous in this area but it seems to be a key element in why Daniel Pearl was kidnapped.
She alerts the police chief of this fact. The police chief follows every lead and every person gives a name of another person. A long line of people are brought to jail and tell of other people who are involved someway. They all know time is running out and they need to find him quickly. The terrorists give the US 24 hours to improve conditions at a holding facility for prisoners of war or Daniel Pearl will be executed. His wife is pregnant and everyone is worried that she is not taking care of herself. Phone calls and emails are traced back to the original senders to find even more people connected to the kidnapping. A report is released saying Daniel Pearl has been found dead in the morgue but it is not him. So when a videotape is handed to friends, his wife does not know whether to believe it or not. The film ends by saying the film is for the son who never knew his father.
As I said before, even though I knew what happened to Daniel Pearl, I still wished that he would be found alive. Wishing that events turned out differently and he was found in time. It is an intense movie and we see Daniel Pearl lovingly interacting with his pregnant wife. There are scenes where the police chief was interrogating terrorists for information and it seemed to be implied that they were being tortured by the grimaces on their faces, but none of the actual torture is seen. The gripping true story is too much for children with horrifying images that will forever haunt me and they were not even shown…only discussed. I don’t know how his wife endured so much with such grace and then to write a book to honor her husband so their son knew him… she must be a magnificent, very strong person.