5.9/10
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146 user 110 critic

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

Based on a true story of a kidnapping that occurred in The Netherlands. See more »

Goofs

When Eileen returns home from the FBI and checks the mail, two identical looking business letters are visible that both have "Pittsburgh, PA" spelled without h in the recipient address. On the first letter the same mistake can also be seen in the sender address. See more »

Quotes

Agent Ray Fuller: Describe your husband
[Robert Redford]
Eileen Hayes: Six foot tall...
See more »

Crazy Credits

For ALAN J. PAKULA See more »


Soundtracks

Happy Birthday to You
Written by Patty S. Hill and Mildred J. Hill
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User Reviews

 
An incoherent mess
25 March 2005 | by gletzesSee all my reviews

After reading many good things about it ,i finally watched "the clearing".With a cast of great actors like Redford and Dafoe ,one would,at least, expect a decent film.After the closing credits had rolled i was still shocked by how bad and incoherent this movie actually was.

Is it supposed to be an "art" film??I don't think so cause it is too melodramatic for that.The bad thing is that the drama seems way too forced and unrealistic.

The truth is that the script makes absolutely no sense.First of all it never really explains the motive behind the actions of any of the characters,it just overblows their so called "personal issues".What's so bad about Redford's character's life that he has to "clear it"??The fact that he cheats,occasionally,his wife??The guy is a millionaire who has had a good life,has a great son and a great daughter,a wife that loves him(and a girlfriend that also seems to be way above the generic mistress type of woman)o and a new-born grandson.The only problem seems to be that he...has been working hard for all his life to be a successful person.So what??It seems that his hard work has really paid off and there's actually no real problems with his life.

Then we come to Dafoe's character:here's someone who was a manager for one of Redford's companies and was fired.Why is this guy unemployed for ...eight years???It seems that he must have some kind of good education to have a job like the one he had in the first place and seems to have been a man with solid ideas about his work(as evident by his flashback of a conversation that he had with Redford when he was working for him).Why couldn't a man like that get a decent job and have a decent life??Cause he was ,once,fired??Totally unrealistic.

The film really tries to portray these men as "tortured souls" or something and that comes off as really cheesy.In fact i would say that if the creators of this film were trying to say something about the American dream then they failed miserably.

As for the actual events that take place during the movie ,they also make no sense at all.In fact the last 20 minutes of the film come off as an insult to the viewer's intelligence,because there's not one thing that takes place that actually makes any sense.Redford seems to have about a 1000 chances to escape ,yet he doesn't.At one moment he is ready to escape and yet he misses his chance cause he feels sorry for his kidnapper and doesn't want to hurt him!!!Then Dafoe picks up his gun from the water and the mud,which should be useless(if you fire a shot with a gun after the gun has been in the water and mud it will possibly blow up in your face)and the gun is in perfect condition!!! The way an unemployed ,useless(as portrayed in this film) and mentally unstable character,manages to outsmart the entire FBI with such ease brings the narrative of this film to "twilight zone" levels.The cheesy ending(with Redford's wife illusion) comes to finish the viewer off.

This film pretends to be something,it's not(i.e a quality,sophisticated psychological thriller).Unfortunately it fails so hard,that it becomes a disaster and that's the word that describes this film best:A DISASTER.


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