The Missing

A Film Review By The Mike

Rating:R for Violence and Language
Starring: Tommy Lee Jones, Cate Blanchett, Val Kilmer
Directed By: Ron Howard

Final Grade:

Whoever was responsible for advertising for The Missing should definitely get a paycut. Most everyone I knew saw the trailers or TV spots for this film and expected a horror film, or at least a psychological thriller. But, the first reviewers learned the film’s secret, and now its viewers have come to realize too. It’s a western.

That being said, it’s a very well made western. Director Ron Howard bucks my image of his directorial talents with a beautifully realized epic, that’s filled with landscapes and settings that any director would be proud of. Not only that, but he gets a wonderful cast to help him through them.

Tommy Lee Jones has never been an actor I’ve immensely enjoyed watching, but he’s never been better for a role than this one. His gruff exterior and mannerisms are perfectly done, and fit his character perfectly. Cate Blanchett also does well as the concerned mother, showing both care and ferocity when they’re needed. There are also good but brief supporting performances from Val Kilmer and Aaron Eckhart.

But, The Missing is definitely missing something. If one digs down under its style and look, there seems to be a lack of emotion that the film at times can not defeat. There are many scenes throughout that are meant to pack a punch, but instead fall flat in the dramatic department.

There were some very good scenes mixed in, especially in the last half an hour, but the unevenness is a huge drawback for a film like this, especially with such a long runtime. One can’t help feeling many things could have been cut, and that a much neater and more powerful film could have been arranged.

The last thing I will say in defense of The Missing is that it did have a truly original and frightening villain, a rare trait in today’s films. It had a lot more good things too, but just as many bad ones. In the end, the work of Jones and the cinematography make it slightly recommendable, but still slightly disappointing.

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