Contrary to what you might have read, A Mighty Heart isn’t about Daniel Pearl, the Wall Street Journal reporter who in 2002 was murdered by Islamic kidnappers in Pakistan. In fact, Michael Winterbottom’s adaptation of the memoir of Pearl’s reporter wife Mariane doesn’t quite know what it wants to be, which means that it ultimately winds up being not very much at all. Aside from a brief intro and flashbacks to the couple’s happier times – both of which are sapped of impact by the script’s disinterest in depicting Daniel (Dan Futterman) as an actual person rather than a haunting specter – the film is confined to the tense few weeks during which the pregnant Mariane (Angelina Jolie) worked with WSJ colleagues, the CIA, and Pakistani intelligence officers to locate and rescue her husband. The result is that the narrative splits time between lionizing Mariane as a strong, resolute, devoted wife, and focusing on the ins-and-outs of the investigation into the abduction, a tack that wholly sidesteps addressing the ramifications of, or lessons learned from, Daniel’s capture and murder. A Mighty Heart’s detail-driven recreation of the official search – done in the same proficient docudrama style that characterized Winterbottom’s The Road to Guantanamo – obviously yields little suspense (since the outcome is public knowledge), but, more problematically, it fails to convey anything incisive about the story’s greater geopolitical issues (Islamofascism, anti-Semitism, other facets of the war on terror). And while Mariane proves an admirable figure, her center-stage position in what is, at heart, her husband’s story feels wrongheaded, an impression magnified by the fact that righteous humanitarian icon Jolie isn’t able (or willing) to convincingly subsume herself into the role. When Mariane explodes in a grieving climactic wail, who we see – to the film’s ultimate detriment – isn’t the distraught widow of a brave journalist, but, rather, a global celebrity using a tragedy as the vehicle for her own personal star showcase.