(BY ALI NADERZAD) A Mighty Heart, the new Michael Winterbottom film which stars Angelina Jolie and was co-produced by husband Brad Pitt is given its theatrical release today. Heart recalls the hours, days and weeks that Marianne Pearl (Angelina Jolie) spent after her husband’s disappearance, Wall Street reporter Daniel Pearl (Dan Futterman). Pearl’s meeting with an Islamic fundamentalist group’s higher-up and his ensuing kidnapping make for harrowing moments on film, the chilling realization that something has gone wrong makes you squirm. Winterbottom’s storytelling is lean and glare-free, plunging us straight into the narrative, a narrative which exists just a couple degrees from reality as we saw with previous Winterbottom fare like In this World (2002) and 24-hour Party People (2002). Jolie’s performance is flawless, yes (Timeout New York’s Melissa Anderson dramatically called it the ‘highlight of her career,’) but casting her for the central role proves too much of a distraction; this reality-based drama would have benefited more from a lesser-known actress. Jolie’s near-perfect features burn through the screen and everything else–ie, narrative tension, other cast, dramatization–pales in its path. Shame for the story, though it’s doubtful the movie does poorly. With A Mighty Heart, Winterbottom definitively establishes himself as one of the finer directors of the docu-drama genre.