The Missing is the story of Maggie Gilkeson (Cate Blanchett), a young woman raising her two daughters in an isolated and lawless wilderness. When her oldest daughter (Evan Rachel Wood) is kidnapped by a psychopathic killer... more » with mystical powers (Eric Schweig), Maggie is forced to re-unite with her long estranged father (Tommy Lee Jones) to rescue her. The killer and his brutal cult of desperados have kidnapped several other teenage girls, leaving a trail of death and horror across the desolate landscape of the American Southwest.« less
I LOVED it!!! I wasn't sure I would like it, because I'm not a fan of Westerns. BUT, I am a fan of Tommy Lee Jones and Ron Howard, the director. And, this movie was not your typical Western. I would describe it as a Western Thriller. This movie had me on the edge of my seat the whole time, biting my nails, and tugging at my heart. The little girl who plays Dot, was phenomenal. The cinematography, I thought, was beautiful. Great acting, great action, great story.... and what a story!
K. Perrin | Canada | 04/01/2006
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I am not typically a fan of historical movies, and I saw it only because I was on vacation and it was one of the rentals available. I was blown away! It was an intelligent thriller, with a great story, and lots of tension. By the end of the movie, I was on the edge of my seat, dying to see how it would all play out. I'm stunned at some of the negative reviews posted here. But, if you want the typical Hollywood no-brainer film, then this isn't for you. If you like an intelligent, gripping story, then this one won't disappoint!"
This may well be the most leisurely chase film every made
Lawrance M. Bernabo | The Zenith City, Duluth, Minnesota | 02/27/2004
(4 out of 5 stars)
"The problem is not that "The Missing" is 135-minutes long. I have no problem with long movies. The problem with director Ron Howard's 2003 film is that the pacing is so slow. This may well be the most leisurely chase film every made. The situation, as you should know from the trailer, is that young Lily Gilkeson (Evan Rachel Wood) is abducted by someone wearing a hood. With the local sheriff (Clint Howard) and the army (Val Kilmer) unwilling or unable to lend help, Maggie Gilkeson (Cate Blanchett) has to rely on her estranged father, Samuel Jones (Tommy Lee Jones). Eventually we learn that he abandoned his family a long time ago to live with the Indians and basically throw his life away. With her father and her younger daughter, Dot (Jenna Boyd), Maggie heads off to bring Lily back.Every time there is a story in the news today about a kid being abducted we always here about how those first few hours are critical. In "The Missing" the searchers even have the advantage of knowing where Lily is being taken, but this does not spur them to any great effort. Granted, it is nice to see that Maggie does not become a hysterical wreck given what has just happened (there was more than an abduction involved in the violence), but certainly she should be a bit more frantic. Yes, the Indians they are tracking are taking their time picking up more young girls to sell across the border, but Maggie and her party do not know this. To my way of thinking they should be moving fast, pausing for the briefest of rests (tie Dot to her saddle if they need to), and certainly not stopping to bury anybody. By the time Samuel declares there is no time to stop for water, we are almost two hours into the film.On the one hand it is hard to believe that this trio is going to bring back Lily alive, but one aspect of "The Missing" that I liked was how rescue plans keep getting messed up, especially with Lily being both the victim and the cause of such circumstances. How realistic you find the bravery of the three Gilkeson women to be for the time and place is open to debate as well, as are the various ways in which "The Missing" is an old-fashioned western with modern sensibilities. Of course in addition to the rescue mission there is the gulf that needs to be bridged between father and daughter. We keep waiting to find out what Samuel's Chiricahua name Chaa-duu-ba-its-iidan means, because it clearly is going to provide insight into the story of how he has come to throw away his life.The biggest surprise to me in the film was Eric Schweig. I knew he was in the film and was keeping an eye out for the actor who had played Uncas in "The Last of the Mohicans." It was only after the film was over that I discovered Schweig was playing Chidin, the Apache brujo (male witch), who took Lily and the other girls that his group of renegade Apache cavalry scouts is taking to Mexico to sell. Even watching the movie again and knowing that is Schweig underneath that makeup, I still just do not see it. That must be why they call it acting, especially what he is doing with his eyes. Chidin is a whirlwind of cruelty and violence, which is why his magic as a brujo is so strong and which also serves to underscore that an old man, a woman, and a kid should not be able to take him down. For so much of the film Chidin is ahead of the game and it seems the only reason he loses in the end is because the script says that he does.Cinematographer Salvatore Totino clearly favors a palette of blue and white to contrast with the browns in this film. The result is a rather odd looking western, although beyond the idea that it has something to do with these color choices I cannot really explain the feeling. The performances are certainly competent enough, but that is hardly surprising given the cast. Perhaps the point here is that the Western is back as a genre, at least to the point where we have more than great films like "Dances With Wolves" and "Unforgiven," and now are back to having average films like "The Missing" as well."
This Was A Good Movie
Randy | Kingston Springs, TN United States | 03/17/2006
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I find myself shaking my head about the trashing this movie received from some. I am beginning to think many modern viewers have already seen everything on the face of the Earth and can NEVER be impressed anymore by any new movies.
This is a very tense and entertaining movie. It held my attention throughout however I am an adult who can pay attention and some viewing the movie probably cannot. It is exceptionally well acted and the cinematography is great. In short, I give a "well done" to Ron Howard and others who made the film"
Not Much Missing from "The Missing"
L. Mintah | USA | 07/02/2004
(5 out of 5 stars)
"New Mexico has one of the most beautiful and haunting landscapes in the United States. Desert, arroyo, plains, twisted wood and rock formations, and a sky that is like something out of a dream. In The Missing, this landscape shifts constantly, evoking fantastic and surreal images that lend well to the mood of the story. Cate Blanchett stars as Maggie, a tough and independent frontier "healer," who is also a single mother of two girls. Her independence is not enough to save her from the nightmare that erupts when a renegade Apache brujo (sorceror/male witch) kidnaps her teenage daughter Lily. The Brujo is selling young women as sex slaves in Mexico. This man is one bad Indian. Like Lonesome Dove's Blue Duck, the Brujo lends this gritty Western authenticity in these days of forced diversity and political correctness. Not to give anything of the story away, let's just say the villian's methods of killing are creative. This makes The Missing a very violent and disturbing movie. Tommy Lee Jones stars as Maggie's estranged father. He is steeped in Indian ways himself, having lived with the Chirakawa tribe when he abandoned his family when Maggie was a little girl. Consequently, Maggie has intense hatred for her father. One of the very touching elements in the story is young Dot's eagerness to get to know her grandfather over her mother's rage. Revenge is not served up here, rather repentance is. Going after what you love, what has been taken from you, has consequences. Maggie's outright revulsion for Indians also has a terrible and unforseen consequence in the movie. Indian magic and witchcraft is real in this film, blending with the shape-shifting landscape. For further understanding of Native American witchcraft, Tony Hillerman's novel Skinwalkers is good.The movie's general sequence of events is predictable, but that was not enough to stop me from weeping at the end. Also, the suspense was incredible. I should have known with a Ron Howard movie. I plan on purchasing this DVD, and I think my husband will really enjoy it, too."
Something went wrong here...
T. Tiraterra | Davis, CA | 06/23/2004
(3 out of 5 stars)
""The Missing" definetely had the potential to be one of Ron Howard's best films, but somewhere along the way Howard seemed to have given up on it. It begins as a family melodrama and brutal western thrown into one, and the beginning scenes are fairly tense and effective. The cinematography in the films is sometimes downright stunning, stuitably bleak and gritty. However, Howard chose at one point to abandon the risks he was taking in making such a dark and uncompromising film, as it eventually feels watered down.WARNING: MODERATE SPOILERS AHEADIf you recall, Ron Howard films are usually tense and entertaining, but have upbeat conclusions and are never too graphic. Despite what the beginning of the film leads you to believe, this description applies to "The Missing" as well. Exempting brutal attacks at the beginning of the film (which happen off-screen- we only see the results) and a pointless-but-gory bit involving a photographer's death, "The Missing" really just feels like a normal Ron Howard film with a slight dark edge. Howard's various choices- like making sure Maggie's kidnapped daughter is never in any real danger of being raped, despite what she's kidnapped for- eventually just give the impression that he's going through the motions and not taking any real risks.For me, "The Missing" really falls apart when the villain Brujo (or whatever he's called) appears. This guy was so laughably evil and one-dimensional that he would have been at home in a Saturday morning cartoon. We're never offered any motivations for his actions, so the film quickly becomes a simple good vs. evil tale- it feels insulting to your intelligence, since the film was obviously aimed at adults. Why does the Brujo brutally kill people and kidnap women to sell into slavery? Because it makes him feel good! I'm not kidding, the guy only smiles when he's watching the suffering of others. Not exactly a complex (and hence real) character.This whole review probably feels kind of rambling, and that's because I had very mixed feelings about "The Missing". It's a solid adventure story with some impressive acting (especially from Cate Blanchett), but I just felt it could have been so much more. By refusing to take too many risks, Howard eventually just leaves you with an entertaining- but ultimately forgettable- action/western movie."