THE MISSING Add To My Top 10

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Release Date: November 26, 2003

Starring: Cate Blanchett, Tommy Lee Jones, Eric Schweig, Evan Rachel Wood, Jenna Boyd, Val Kilmer, and Clint Howard

Genre: Western/Thriller/Horror

Audience: Older teenagers and
adults REVIEWER: Dr. Ted
Baehr THE MISSING tries to be
all things to all people and
becomes less the sum of its
parts. Furthermore, multiple
endings don’t achieve a
proper climax that would
propel the movie past its
deficiencies. As the beginning
credits roll, there is Indian
chanting in the background.
Cut to two ranchers
complaining about renegade
Indians killing their cow.
They mistake a white man who
has gone Indian, Mr. Samuel
Jones (played by Tommy Lee
Jones), as the Indian suspect.
Jones goes back to the ranch
with them and asks if
Magdalene Gilkeson lives
there. The handsome ranch
hand, Brake, says that she’s
a good Christian
woman. Meanwhile, Maggie is
doctoring a woman with a tooth
infection. She wears a cross
and tells her daughter to
recite the 23rd Psalm.
However, it is soon revealed
that she is having an affair
with Brake. It is also learned
that Jones is her father, whom
she hates because he left home
when she was a child. They
clash in every way. While she
prays in the morning, he
chants Indian prayers. She
kicks him out, and the ranch
hands and her two daughters
head to town for a fair. When
they don’t return, but here
daughter's horse does, Maggie
goes looking for them and
discovers that they have been
ambushed by renegade Indians.
The Indians have taken her
daughter Lilly to sell into
the white slave trade in
Mexico. When she finds out her
father had nothing to do with
this crime, Maggie tentatively
accepts his help. During the
rest of the movie, as they
pursue the renegade Indians,
Maggie and Jones reconcile
their relationship. The
renegades are led by a witch.
He blows a powder into a
photographer’s eyes, which
makes him bleed from all his
orifices. He gets hold of
Maggie’s hair and, from a
great distance, casts a spell
on her, which almost kills
her. In the beginning, Maggie
does not believe in
witchcraft. By the middle of
the movie, she understands its
full power and seems powerless
in her Christianity to refute
it. Only brute force seems to
work, although the reading of
the “begats” from Matthew
seems to have some salutary
effect at one point in the
movie. THE MISSING has several
multiple endings. It makes it
clear that the bad Indians are
renegades. Indian scouts are
caught between the two worlds.
Mr. Jones clearly shows how
wonderful the Indian world is.
The renegades show how awful
they are. There is also
unnecessary foul language in
English as well as in Indian
and Spanish. The violence is
unnecessarily brutal at
points, to show how rotten
these renegades are. Several
members of the screening were
upset by the violence. When
mescaline dust is blown into
Mr. Jones’ face, he goes on
a Carlos Castenada desert trip
and is led by a hawk back to
his family. Most of THE
MISSING seems to indicate that
the Indian magic is stronger
than Maggie’s Christianity,
although the ending tips the
scales slightly in the other
direction. Even so, however,
it is brute force that
eventually defeats the forces
of darkness. In spite of these
shortcomings, the photography
in THE MISSING is superb,
beautiful enough to make the
audience stand up and applaud.
The acting and the directing
likewise are incredibly
professional. It is the script
that is weak. Although it may
have seemed like a good idea
to combine a western with a
strong feminist tale, horror
elements, and thriller
suspense, none of it quite
comes together in this stew.
THE MISSING should gain some
good reviews, but it is not up
to the quality of Ron
Howard’s previous
work. Please address your
comments to: Amy Pascal,
Chairman Columbia Pictures Amy
Pascal, Jeff Blake, and Yair
Landar Vice Chairmen Sony
Pictures Entertainment 10202
West Washington Blvd. Culver
City, CA 90232-3195 Phone:
(310) 244-4000 Fax: (310)
244-2626 Web Page:
www.spe.sony.com/

Rating: R

Runtime: 130 minutes

Address Comments To:

Content:

(PaPa, Fe, OO, CC, BB, PC, LL, VVV, S, N, A, DD, MM) Strong mixed pagan worldview with post-feminist tone and several attempts to convince so-called Christian about the power of occult Indian witchcraft, with Indian witchcraft displayed on a par with Christianity, and some credit given to Christianity, 23rd Psalm recited, Matthew “begats” recited, two men give their lives for their families; ten obscenities, one profanity and three exclamatory profanities; excessive violence including Indian powder causes man’s eyes to bleed, several scenes where people are beaten to a pulp, man’s torn out heart displayed, rattlesnake venom used to kill people, woman’s tooth pulled, woman operates on gunshot wound, many battle scenes, and images of dead bodies show aftermath of Indian raids; unmarried couple prepares for sex, renegade tries to rape female captive; rear male nudity when a nude body is seen lying face down; alcohol use; mescaline and peyote use; and, girl disobeys mother, women taken as hostages to sell in white slave trade, army and law enforcement shown as ineffective and uncaring, and so-called “good” Christian woman has an affair.

GENRE: Western/Thriller/Horror

PaPa

Fe

OO

CC

BB

PC

LL

VVV

S

N

A

DD

MM

Summary:

THE MISSING combines the western, horror, and thriller genres into a hodgepodge, in a story about a woman, Maggie, who must rely on her estranged father to save her daughter from renegade Indians led by a witchdoctor. It is brute force, not Maggie’s Christianity, which eventually defeats the forces of darkness in this movie, which contains excessive foul language and brutal violence.

Review:

THE MISSING tries to be all things to all people and becomes less the sum of its parts. Furthermore, multiple endings don’t achieve a proper climax that would propel the movie past its deficiencies.

As the beginning credits roll, there is Indian chanting in the background. Cut to two ranchers complaining about renegade Indians killing their cow. They mistake a white man who has gone Indian, Mr. Samuel Jones (played by Tommy Lee Jones), as the Indian suspect. Jones goes back to the ranch with them and asks if Magdalene Gilkeson lives there. The handsome ranch hand, Brake, says that she’s a good Christian woman.

Meanwhile, Maggie is doctoring a woman with a tooth infection. She wears a cross and tells her daughter to recite the 23rd Psalm. However, it is soon revealed that she is having an affair with Brake. It is also learned that Jones is her father, whom she hates because he left home when she was a child. They clash in every way. While she prays in the morning, he chants Indian prayers. She kicks him out, and the ranch hands and her two daughters head to town for a fair. When they don’t return, but here daughter's horse does, Maggie goes looking for them and discovers that they have been ambushed by renegade Indians. The Indians have taken her daughter Lilly to sell into the white slave trade in Mexico.

When she finds out her father had nothing to do with this crime, Maggie tentatively accepts his help. During the rest of the movie, as they pursue the renegade Indians, Maggie and Jones reconcile their relationship.

The renegades are led by a witch. He blows a powder into a photographer’s eyes, which makes him bleed from all his orifices. He gets hold of Maggie’s hair and, from a great distance, casts a spell on her, which almost kills her. In the beginning, Maggie does not believe in witchcraft. By the middle of the movie, she understands its full power and seems powerless in her Christianity to refute it. Only brute force seems to work, although the reading of the “begats” from Matthew seems to have some salutary effect at one point in the movie.

THE MISSING has several multiple endings. It makes it clear that the bad Indians are renegades. Indian scouts are caught between the two worlds. Mr. Jones clearly shows how wonderful the Indian world is. The renegades show how awful they are. There is also unnecessary foul language in English as well as in Indian and Spanish. The violence is unnecessarily brutal at points, to show how rotten these renegades are. Several members of the screening were upset by the violence. When mescaline dust is blown into Mr. Jones’ face, he goes on a Carlos Castenada desert trip and is led by a hawk back to his family.

Most of THE MISSING seems to indicate that the Indian magic is stronger than Maggie’s Christianity, although the ending tips the scales slightly in the other direction. Even so, however, it is brute force that eventually defeats the forces of darkness.

In spite of these shortcomings, the photography in THE MISSING is superb, beautiful enough to make the audience stand up and applaud. The acting and the directing likewise are incredibly professional. It is the script that is weak. Although it may have seemed like a good idea to combine a western with a strong feminist tale, horror elements, and thriller suspense, none of it quite comes together in this stew. THE MISSING should gain some good reviews, but it is not up to the quality of Ron Howard’s previous work.

Please address your comments to:

Amy Pascal, Chairman

Columbia Pictures

Amy Pascal, Jeff Blake, and Yair Landar

Vice Chairmen

Sony Pictures Entertainment

10202 West Washington Blvd.

Culver City, CA 90232-3195

Phone: (310) 244-4000

Fax: (310) 244-2626

Web Page: www.spe.sony.com/

SUMMARY: THE MISSING combines the western, horror, and thriller genres into a hodgepodge, in a story about a woman, Maggie, who must rely on her estranged father to save her daughter from renegade Indians led by a witchdoctor. It is brute force, not Maggie’s Christianity, which eventually defeats the forces of darkness in this movie, which contains excessive foul language and brutal violence.

In Brief: