2003 - R - 145 Mins.
|Director: Ron Howard
|Producer: Brian Grazer, Ron Howard,
|Written By: Ken Kaufman
|Starring: Tommy Lee Jones, Cate Blanchett, Evan Rachel Wood, Aaron Eckhart, Val Kilmer
|Review by: Joe Rickey
The Missing is a stab at an old-fashioned western by top Hollywood talent. It concerns a mother who lives the hard life in the late 1800’s with her two daughters. She is reunited with her father, a reformed man who was part of an Indian tribe despite not being of that descent. Soon after a daughter is kidnapped by a maniacal man hoping to sell her into prostitution across the border. She must work with her father to get her child back.
Let the truth be known, I'm not the biggest fan of Westerns. Along with Musicals, Westerns is a film genre that I'm not particularly fond of. Therefore, walking into the theater showing "The Missing" was a questionable move on my behalf. I didn't know what to expect, but I did know why I was watching it in the first place. I was watching it because of director Ron Howard, and the two lead actors, Tommy Lee Jones and Cate Blanchett. And besides the director and actors, the film actually looked interesting, thrilling, and even creepy. In the end, I came out of the theater pleasently surprised.
Of course, Ron Howard is the director behind "The Missing", and its his latest film since his Academy award-winning "A Beautiful Mind" from 2001. Howard does a terrific job with the film. He handles the action sequences very smoothly, and still makes them exciting and thrilling to watch. And I loved the atmosphere he incorporated here, it fits the film's tone and story extremely well. Also, he does a great job telling the film's story. This is just another solid directing performance by Howard.
Tommy Lee Jones and Cate Blanchett deliver great performances as an estranged father and daughter, who both share different views of life, love, and faith. The chemistry between Jones and Blanchett is very strong, and their chemistry makes the relationship between the two characters more and more believable as the film carries on. Other than the two leads, there's not much else to discuss in the acting department. Evan Rachel Wood and Jenna Boyd play Blachett's character's daughters, but they are both completely annoying, and their roles consist mostly of screaming and crying. Aaron Eckhart and Val Kilmer are also in the film, but they're feature in cameo roles/performances.
The only problem "The Missing" suffers from is the length. Honestly, the film is a little too long. For a film that features an otherwise simple story, it seemed rather unnecessary to make the film about 2 1/2 hours long. There are times in "The Missing" where nothing happens. And when I say nothing, I do mean nothing. This film definitely needed a trip to the editing room. At the very least, 30 minutes could have been taken out, and it would not have had a serious effect on the film itself. Actually, it would have helped the film out instead.
Even if the film runs a little too long, "The Missing" is an entertaining, intriguing, and occasionally exciting Western with two great performances from the leads, a solid directing job by Howard, a decent story, and some thrilling action sequences. "The Missing" certainly will not revolutionize the Western genre, and it probably won't be one that will be remembered for years to come. But for the time being, it's one Western that's worth checking out in theaters.