Any story being told where the conclusion is anticipated and inevitable retains an enormous, likely insurmountable narrative disadvantage. How much more so when that conclusion involves the decapitation and dismemberment of an innocent, honest man, loving husband, and expecting father. Michael Winterbottom's A Mighty Heart, about the kidnapping and murder of Wall Street Journal reporter Daniel Pearl, drawn from the memoir of Pearl's wife, Marianne, and mostly told from her perspective, is difficult to endure as much for the content as anything else. It is a film ultimately burdened, handcuffed, and flawed by the reality itself.  If the actual event upon which it is based had not taken place in 2002 Pakistan before the world's eyes, no filmmaker would dare create such a meaningless tragedy for mass audience consumption.

            Many comedians have established routines and careers based on the precept that nothing can be funnier than the truth. Today, films like Hostel and Saw exploit maiming and torture and serve it up as popcorn entertainment. But the beheading of Daniel Pearl at the hands of bloodthirsty madmen, the gurgling noises elicited as the  flesh of his throat was breached