I was appalled. Mr. Ron Howard should be ashamed of himself. Cate Blanchett played a woman in the 1850s living on a ranch when her husband is killed by Indians and the brutal savages kidnap her young daughter to sell her as a sex slave. By the way, she is also a medicine woman -- a device which only seems to be a part of her character so there is something interesting for here to do.
Tommy Lee Jones is her estranged father who has embraced Indian culture (for some inexplicable reason), after abandoning her many years ago. She hates him for that. But they must now put away their differences to go after the savages who took her daughter because the Sheriff is busy planning some kind of town picnic. (oh brother)
That scene was probably the most contrived scene in cinematic history and only served as yet another vehicle for Mr. Howard's brother Clint to make a cameo in one of his movies. That joke is so old I doubt anyone in the audience even noticed. I guess you had to be there.
This movie sucked. Talk about contrived and cliché. They made Native Americans look like brutal savages who go around stealing their precious white women -- minors no less -- and it turned my stomach. How Mr. Howard could be so unbelievably insensitive as to portray an entire race of people who were slaughtered for their land by white settlers is truly amazing. Never does Mr. Howard address the atrocities of an entire race or the horrible way they too were brutalized, raped and murdered, nor do any of the film's characters acknowledge or accept accountability for what really happened to Indians. What made it worse was the use of tribal background music that was meant to kindle some sort of spiritual connection to the Native American Heritage.
The movie dragged on forever and was very one-beat throughout. It reminded me of a group of college friends who all got together and decided to make a spaghetti Western with no story. The film had plenty of people riding around on horses and the aerial footage was peculiarly out of place. There were a lot of aerial shots of people riding horses that stood out as if someone were actually filming them "live" from a helicopter which made the movie all the more contrived. The only interesting person in the movie was the feisty little girl played by Jenna Boyd. She seemed to be the only character with any depth. In fact, it would have been a far better film had they cut Cate Blanchett's role and gave all the lines to little Jenna out to save her kidnapped sister. Keep an eye out on this little actress. She's going places.
The rest of the movie was a lame attempt of Tommy Lee Jones trying to reconcile with his daughter Cate. I wanted to shoot myself in the head because I felt like I was trapped in the movie theater. It was one of those films where you can only pray the end is near. Half way through some Indian dude pops in out of thin air to help Tommie Lee Jones because his daughter was kidnapped too. Mr. Howard's attempt to balance the brutality of the villain by showing he not only prefers stealing young white women, but American Indian women as well, does not negate the fact that Native Americans in this film were portrayed as typical stereotypes that have existed from the beginning of American Cinema. Mr. Howard certainly set back the clock on this film. What was even more strange is that this Indian fellow speaks perfect Spanish and seemingly prefers to communicate to Tommy Lee Jones in Spanish with English subtitles.
And I guess we are supposed to praise Tommy Lee Jone's boring performance because he managed to utter a few lines of Apache dialogue which too were lame. On screen, Mr. Jones looked more bored that I was. I have no doubt he was thinking what the hell am I doing stuck in this movie.
If Cate Blanchett was supposed to be one of those much-sought-after strong female characters with guts, then I am the Pope. This movie was pretentious, made up and just plain bad. I didn't buy any of it. In fact, I literally fell asleep twice during the movie and just when I thought it was about to end, it kept going. This movie was like the energizer bunny. It kept going and going and going and going. The audience were squirming and restless. The only reason I didn't get up and leave was because it was a special Variety Daily screening with a Q&A at the end and it would be considered rude to leave before the end credits.
My great grandmother was native American. Being that I have native American in my family, a movie like "The Missing" was an embarrassment. The Marketing campaign would have you to believe this is a supernatural thriller which it is not. It was a long, drawn out boring movie with good scenery disguised as one of those boring Academy Award contenders.
It's amazing how dumb movies get made.
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