5.9/10
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The Clearing (2004)

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

Director:

Pieter Jan Brugge

Writers:

Pieter Jan Brugge (story), Justin Haythe (story) | 1 more credit »
1 nomination. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Robert Redford ... Wayne Hayes
Helen Mirren ... Eileen Hayes
Willem Dafoe ... Arnold Mack
Alessandro Nivola ... Tim Hayes
Matt Craven ... Agent Ray Fuller
Melissa Sagemiller ... Jill Hayes
Wendy Crewson ... Louise Miller
Larry Pine ... Tom Finch
Diana Scarwid ... Eva Finch
Elizabeth Ruscio ... Cindy Mack
Gwen McGee ... Agent Kathleen Duggan
Sarah Koskoff ... Lane Hayes
Graciela Marin ... Graciela
Mike Pniewski ... Detective Kyle Woodward
Geoff McKnight ... John Dewitt
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Storyline

After decades of happy marriage and a life surrounded by luxury and wealth, Wayne Hayes, a successful car-rental businessman and his loving wife Eileen, are looking forward to a tranquil and comfortable retirement. However, the dreams of a peaceful life will eventually crumble like a pack of cards, when at gunpoint, Arnold Mack, a disgruntled former employee, will abduct Wayne in broad daylight right in front of his mansion in Pittsburgh. Suddenly, the life of the accomplished entrepreneur and seasoned negotiator rests entirely in the hands of his nervous, yet ruthless kidnapper who has nothing to lose and everything to gain. This is Wayne's most important negotiation in his life, nevertheless, has he the strength to succeed? Written by Nick Riganas

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

One Kidnapping... Three Victims. See more »


Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for brief strong language | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

Germany | USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

16 July 2004 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Secretos de un secuestro See more »

Filming Locations:

Georgia, USA See more »

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Box Office

Opening Weekend USA:

$618,674, 4 July 2004, Limited Release

Gross USA:

$5,763,875, 10 October 2004
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Dolby Digital

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

During the fight scene in the woods, Willem Dafoe actually cracked a rib when Robert Redford's stunt double Dan Shea rammed into him, tackling him to the ground during the shooting. See more »

Goofs

When Wayne Hayes is approaching the top of the hill and it begins to rain, his right shoulder appears slightly transparent. 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 Six Feet Under: The Dare (2004) See more »

Soundtracks

The Trout
Written by Franz Schubert
Performed by The Royal Philharmonic Orchestra
Courtesy of The Extreme Music Library plc
See more »

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User Reviews

 
Well Acted, Well Crafted and Yet a Little Disappointing.
2 April 2005 | by MichaelMargetisSee all my reviews

A great deal of viewers will pan The Clearing for being too "not down to the point", an intelligent suspense thriller about a wealthy man (Redford) kidnapped by an angry ex-employee (Dafoe) and held for ransom until the rich business owner's wife (Mirren) pays the price. Although The Clearing is creatively put together, I just doesn't get right down to the point. What you expect it to be is a kidnapping thriller but it turns into mostly a big discussion between Redford's character and Dafoe's character. Not that that is an insult to the film, their discussions are very carefully and skillfully written, it is just that we are expecting this movie to go places, it doesn't go.

The other half of the film consists of Mirren's character dealing with the F.B.I. and the kidnapper to get back her beloved husband. Her part of the film also consists of her chats with her two grown –up children (played by Laurel Canyon's Alessandro Nivola and Soul Survivor's Melissa Sagemiller) who are visiting from out of town to comfort their mother in her time of need. The scenes of dialogue between Mirren and her son are very engrossing due mostly to the fact that Nivola is a great actor. However, the scenes of dialogue between Mirren and her daughter are perhaps the most tedious parts of the film, due mainly to the fact that Sagemiller is not a good actress, and unfortunately we get to see more of the scenes between Mirren and her daughter, then scenes with Mirren and her son. The most intriguing of Mirren's interactions of the film, is that of her and the F.B.I. agent in charge of getting back her husband, played by Matt Craven in one of his very best roles. In a whole, The Clearing is a film about interactions rather than actions.

The most rewarding element of Pierre Jan Brugge's The Clearing, is perhaps the acting. All three leads are pitch perfect in their roles, with talent to spare. Robert Redford gives us another great performance that was long awaited. Willem Dafoe is priceless and the meticulous and spooky kidnapper. I think Dafoe's role is the most interesting out of the bunch, but maybe unintentionally. In the hostage scenes with Dafoe and Redford, you're supposed to pay close attention to Redford's stories, but Dafoe's reactions to the stories turn out to be way more interesting. I think the best performance in The Clearing (which may be honored with an Oscar or at least Golden Globe nomination) is Helen Mirren as the intensely worried housewife of Robert Redford. She reels you into to feeling her emotions about this horrible and stressful situation. It takes real talent for an actress to do it, but it takes even more talent for an actress to do this without opening her mouth. That is what Helen Mirren achieves in this film, among many others she's been featured in over the years.

The ending of The Clearing is very disappointing. Although, it's realistic and not hokey, it leaves a lot of questions unanswered. In the last fifteen minutes of the movie they lead you down the garden path into believing everything will be made clear at the end, and don't go through with it. The ending of the film will sit with you better a day after you've seen the picture then it will two seconds after the credits start rolling. You'll realize this was a smart unexpected way to end it, and that it was okay to not add everything up, because in real life not everything always adds up. I think the people who would be most disappointed in The Clearing, are those who watch a lot of television during the week. The reason being is that on television everything is neatly put together in a package and there are no loose ends in the final moments, but on film that doesn't always happen. I think film scholars would appreciate The Clearing substantially more than then the general public.

In closing, this is a good, not great, but good film from first time filmmaker Pierre Jan Brugee. Brugee does a sensational job for his first picture, and presents himself like he's been doing film-making all his life. He is a very bold filmmaker, with a lot of confidence that I'd like to see more of in the not-to-distant future. (review written 8/16/04) Grade: B (screened at AMC Deer Valley 30, Phoenix, Arizona)


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