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The Clearing (2004)

5.9
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Ratings: 5.9/10 from 10,777 users   Metascore: 60/100
Reviews: 141 user | 109 critic | 34 from Metacritic.com

As an executive is held captive by an employee, it's up to his wife to deliver the ransom.

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(story), (story), 1 more credit »
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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
...
...
...
...
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Jill Hayes
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Louise Miller
...
Tom Finch
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Eva Finch
Elizabeth Ruscio ...
Cindy Mack
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Agent Kathleen Duggan
Sarah Koskoff ...
Lane Hayes
...
Graciela
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Detective Kyle Woodward
...
John Dewitt
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Storyline

Wayne and Eileen Hayes live the American Dream. Together they've raised two children and struggled to build a successful business from the ground up. But there have been sacrifices along the way. When Wayne is kidnapped by an ordinary man, Arnold Mack, and held for ransom in a remote forest, the couple's world is turned inside out. Eileen finds her home full of FBI agents, their life under scrutiny. While Wayne is engaged in the negotiation of his lifetime, Eileen works frantically with the FBI to secure his release. The terrifying ordeal causes Wayne and Eileen to reassess their marriage and come to a deeper sense of their commitment to each other. With each passing hour, the need and desire for Wayne to return home safely becomes ever more urgent. Written by Austin4577@aol.com

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

You only really know what you have when you're about to lose it.


Certificate:

R | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

 »
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Details

Country:

|

Language:

Release Date:

23 December 2004 (Germany)  »

Also Known As:

Secretos de un secuestro  »

Filming Locations:

 »

Box Office

Opening Weekend:

$632,648 (Spain) (20 August 2004)

Gross:

$5,763,875 (USA) (8 October 2004)
 »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Color:

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Went straight-to-video in the UK. See more »

Goofs

During Wayne and Eileen's breakfast by the pool, while Wayne is trying to teach the dog to jump in the pool, the orange juice level in her glass changes between shots. See more »

Quotes

[last lines]
Wayne Hayes: Do you love me?
Eileen Hayes: Yes.
Wayne Hayes: Then I have everything I need.
See more »

Crazy Credits

For ALAN J. PAKULA See more »

Connections

Featured in Anatomy of a Scene: The Clearing (2004) See more »

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TJ Maxx Advertisement
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User Reviews

 
A great character driven caper
29 June 2004 | by (Oakville, Ontario) – See all my reviews

Robert Redford is an icon. From the same DNA strand as Paul Newman and Clint Eastwood, younger viewers might not be as versed as to their contributions over the past fifty years of film. In fact, when I asked a just 20-something person at the office about Mr. Redford, I got films like The Last Castle, Spy Games and The Horse Whisperer as their reference to the name. No Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid. No The Candidate, and I won't even begin to explain the bewildered expression I received when I mentioned All The President's Men.

Based on this ignorance (the word sounds a lot stronger than it is intended), I don't expect to see the character driven The Clearing burning up the box office figures when it is released amongst a host of summer blockbusters. With it's three main stars being in their 40's, 50's and 60's, I expect that younger audiences might prefer some strange movie about a radioactive spider bitten school boy that opens the same week-end.

The Clearing is a story about a successful businessman, Wayne (Redford), who is kidnapped by down on his luck Arnold Mack (Willem Dafoe) and held for a ransom of $10 million in a secluded forest. Motive being solely money and a second chance at life, Arnold toys with Wayne's wife Eileen (Helen Mirren) and the F.B.I. sending them clues and cryptic instructions in efforts to secure his bounty. Like most kidnapping films, the movie can only end one of two ways really, and don't expect that to be revealed here.

The Clearing is not the first kidnapping movie and will be far from the last. Sometimes it is done well (Man on Fire), sometimes bad (Proof of Life) and most times, Hollywood and test audiences determine the ending or the amount of drama they will allow their leading cast to perform (Ransom).

That is why The Clearing was, well…refreshing. As a small, independent film, The Clearing doesn't have to answer to the harsh brass that sway their approach based on night vision goggles in darkened theaters. It can tell a story the way the filmmaker intended; raw, intense and without all the loose ends tied up like a front of the tree Christmas present.

Instead, director Pieter Jan Brugge can let his actors do what they do best and wow us with the way they work a camera and capture an audience using a look or a sneer. Pieter assembled the perfect cast for his directorial debut. Dafoe is subtle as the kidnapping brainchild, but he is also able to project a vulnerability that could have been awfully laughable in the hands of a lesser actor. Redford, coming off two paycheck roles in Spy Game and The Last Castle, is equally convincing as a man flawed in character and without excuses. When Wayne is confronted about his infidelity, he doesn't try to skirt the issue and there are no attempts to justify the action. Instead, his deep blue eyes are able to relay back to the audience that of a man who wishes things could have been different and who seems genuinely concerned about the hurt he may have caused others.

But maybe the best acting within the films running time is in the performance of Helen Mirren. Having to deal with the uncertainty of her husband, the confrontation with his mistress and an F.B.I. agent that tends to cause more harm than benefit, Mirren projects a woman of strength and stamina that is believable in her actions and in her approach to finding a fitting conclusion to the complex ordeal. Handling the situation with class and grace, yet frequently in panic over the possibilities, Mirren gives what is undoubtedly her strongest on screen performance in the past 10 years.

It was a bit of a surprise in 2004 when The Clearing appeared at the Sundance Film Festival in Utah. Not that it isn't the type of film that these festivals build their foundations upon, but the fact that this was the first starring vehicle for Redford to be shown at the festival to which he created. Looking at his last 10 or so role choices, a better selection could not have been made.

So for any of you younger folk that might find themselves to the end of this review, do yourself a favor and start to amass a viewing catalog that will include Redford, Newman and Eastwood while we still have time to enjoy their continued efforts. These great men might never be equaled. Heck, you don't expect one day to see an Adam Sandler Salad Dressing do you?


46 of 56 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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This film is criminally underrated... Macca_UK_2000
confused about the ending blackpose
disappointed doesnt even come close shaweet84
What's Dafoe's motivation? Jonathan Dore
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