out of 4
All-Reviews.com Movie/Video Review
|*Also starring: ||John Shea, Melanie Mayron, Janice Rule, Charles Cioffi, David Clennon, Joe Regalbuto, Richard Venture||
Review by Susan Granger
3 stars out of 4
Set in 1885 in New Mexico, the story revolves around a gutsy frontier
healer, Maggie Gilkeson (Cate Blanchett), who - after her pleas to a cavalry
officer (Val Kilmer) go unheeded - reluctantly reunites with her volatile
estranged father, Jones (Tommy Lee Jones), when her silly elder daughter, Lily
(Evan Rachel Wood), is abducted and her lover/farm hand (Aaron Eckhart) is
murdered by a vicious Apache witch-doctor (Eric Schweig) who sells young girls
into slavery in Mexico. And who should be able to track the Apaches better than
her stubborn, erstwhile dad who abandoned Maggie and her mother 20 years
earlier to live with the Indians?
While they're on the trail in a rescue race against time - with Kate's
spunky younger daughter (Jenna Boyd) tagging along - inevitably, there's a
father-daughter reconciliation as each steps beyond resentment and guilt and
learns more about the sacrifices one will make for the other.
Based on Thomas Eidson's 1995 novel "The Last Ride," Ken Kaufman has
crafted a multi-faceted screenplay that evokes John Ford's "The Searchers"
(1956), despite an emotionally alienating wrong-turn into the eerie
supernatural-shaman arena. Cate Blanchett embodies the strong, complex, capable
heroine, delivering a richly detailed, Oscar-caliber performance, matched by
Tommy Lee Jones' haunting portrayal of the rueful drifter. Working with skilled
cinematographer Salvatore Totino, Oscar-winning director Ron Howard ("A
Beautiful Mind") relishes his first experience in the Western genre, turning it
into a bleak thriller, effectively scored by James Horner ("Titanic"). On the
Granger Movie Gauge of 1 to 10, "The Missing" is a stark, suspenseful 7. It's
a family drama set against the authentic brutality of the Old West.
Copyright © 2003 Susan Granger
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