Over the past few years, director Michael Winterbottom's leapt from genre to genre with a far-ranging deftness where the distance of the jumps is matched only by the agility of the landings. He's given us rollicking rock-and-roll comedy (24 Hour Party People), innovative literary adaptations (Jude, The Claim, Tristam Shandy: A Cock and Bull Story), partially-baked sci-fi (Code 46), art-house sexuality (9 Songs), gripping documentary (The Road to Guantanamo) and more -- and quietly putting together a filmography whose scope and quality put him near Steven Soderbergh's level of production and excellence. A Mighty Heart, playing outside of competition here at Cannes, sees him working with his biggest star to date -- Angelina Jolie -- and turning a true story into a compelling, intellectually and emotionally engaging film that may take him from the art house to the mainstream.
A Mighty Heart is adapted from the memoirs of journalist Mariane Pearl (Jolie), who was posted, along with her Wall Street Journal reporter husband Daniel (Dan Futterman), to Karachi Pakistan, in the wake of 9/11. In 2002, the Pearls were literally one day away from leaving Karachi when Daniel had one last interview to conduct -- a tentative meeting with an elusive subject. He left as his wife was preparing a farewell dinner with their friends in the area. He never returned.