"The Missing" (2004) Dir. Ron Howard


(korano) #1

The Missing is some hat of a rarity. It is a western thriller with supernatural elements. They sound like they go together like pieces to a puzzle and they do. I cannot say this has a euro feel cause it doesn’t but this movie is in a league of its own. Fun, creepy, suspensefull ,brutal, and violent. A good western. Starring Tommy Lee Jones, Cate Blanchett, Aaron Eckhart.


(davidf) #2

in my opinon it’s an ok western but uneven and at times disjointed, with supernatural overtones and rather dark and bleak for a ron howard directed film.some grisly moments and evan rachel wood as the elder daughter undergoes some rough treatment.watchable but a little disapointing.


(scherpschutter) #3

Great action and good direction by Howard, an underrated director.
He’s a first-rate craftsman and when he gives us a glimpse of his dark side, you’re in for a tough ride
Cate Blanchett and Tommy Lee Jones give excellent performances

The film is a bit overlong and loses focus in the second half
Film clearly refers to kidnapping by fundamentalist muslims of western people; it expresses the fear for the unknown enemy out there (I haven’t read the book it was based on, so I don’t know what the writer was referring to). I think it works quite well.

3,5 out of 5


(korano) #4

Thats some deep thinking Scherp. Never thought of it having any allegorical meaning or representation of the present. I’m not too sure about your thinking though since I believe it was based on a book. You could be right though. Due for rewatching soon. Very dark. More of a thriller than a western. Or maybe a thriller set in the west.


(Phil H) #5

The book is “The Last Ride” by one of my favourite contemporary western authors, Thomas Eidson (although it has been reprinted since the release of the film under the title “The Missing.”

It constitutes one part of a thematic trilogy which features the strengths of women. “Agnes’ Last Stand” centred on Faith, “All God’s Children” on Friendship and this one on Family. In all these books strong minded women are featured who act as the lynch pin in the face of harsh realities.

I’m not sure Eidson had the ideas Scherps outlines in mind in his book but I’m a firm believer that the meaning of all art is that which the reader sees in it. We all find different parallels and resonances which make interacting with a particular work (be it a book, a film, a painting or whatever) relevant to our own lives and experiences. Whether the original artist had these in mind doesn’t matter too much in my opinion. The death of the author and all that. If it makes sense to you to see themes in one way and you can explain why, that’s good enough for me. That’s what art is all about. We all have our own interpretations and the work will speak to each of us in a different way.

For my money, it’s a story about the conflicting natures of humanity and those innate ones that finally hold us together. But that’s just me.


(scherpschutter) #6

[quote=“Phil H, post:5, topic:1245”]I’m not sure Eidson had the ideas Scherps outlines in mind in his book but I’m a firm believer that the meaning of all art is that which the reader sees in it. We all find different parallels and resonances which make interacting with a particular work (be it a book, a film, a painting or whatever) relevant to our own lives and experiences. Whether the original artist had these in mind doesn’t matter too much in my opinion. The death of the author and all that. If it makes sense to you to see themes in one way and you can explain why, that’s good enough for me. That’s what art is all about. We all have our own interpretations and the work will speak to each of us in a different way.

For my money, it’s a story about the conflicting natures of humanity and those innate ones that finally hold us together. But that’s just me.[/quote]

Totally agree, of course

I haven’t read the book, but it’s was written in 1995 (I just found out), so it’s unlikely he had those ideas in mind
But when Howard made his film, those things where in the news, and personally I immediately understood the film in this allegorical way

‘The family’ is a theme in most of Howard’s work, here the family is threatened by an outside force they do not really understand, and they finally survive because they hold together as family members

But everybody’s free to read something different in it, as long as it makes some sense


(Phil H) #7

[quote=“scherpschutter, post:6, topic:1245”]I haven’t read the book, but it’s was written in 1995 (I just found out), so it’s unlikely he had those ideas in mind
But when Howard made his film, those things where in the news, and personally I immediately understood the film in this allegorical way[/quote]

That’s a very valid point and links to the idea of interpretation. Eidson may have written the book with one set of ideas in mind but when Howard adapts it for film there are a whole different set of issues contemporay to the time of making it which could influence his approach to the work.


(Stanton) #8

That’s excactly how I see “art”.

About adaptions in general:

A book and a film are different media, and even if one uses another as source and basically follws the same storyline, you can only with a few small changes alter the meaning of a work completely.

I have seen a theater performance of Lysistrata in which by simply changing the end the whole play changed from optimistic to pessimistic.

Many book adaptions are so different from their sources that it doesn’t make any sense to compare these films to the books they are based on. Well, you can examine them of course to show the differences, but it’s mostly wrong to judge a film by it’s novel basis.


(helu0302) #9

AS far as Western Thrillers with supernatural elements go, I prefer Ravenous. But this is still a nice little film, and I pretty much consider it HOwards best film since Apollo 13.

The discovery of the massacre near the begining of film is an amazing moment, showing potential in Howard that I feel he has never lived up to.

And of course Val Kilmer should have a cameo in every western ever, cause he just fits so cooly into the genre.


(ModernDjango) #10

Just saw this movie for the first time and it was a lot better than I thought it would be. Kind of has a Searchers meets True Grit vibe, with some good old fashioned witchdoctering thrown in. Personally, I could have done without the supernatural elements, but other than that (or even with that) this is one of the best westerns of the past decade.


(Phil H) #11

This is a very good film, I agree. And doesn’t get half the attention it should in my opinion.


(ModernDjango) #12

With the way they promoted this movie I didn’t even realize it was a western. From the trailers it appeared to be some kind of contemporary supernatural thriller, and not a very good one at that. If someone from this forum had cut the trailer together I probably would have seen this film a long time ago!


(Yodlaf Peterson) #13

[quote=“ModernDjango, post:12, topic:1245”]With the way they promoted this movie I didn’t even realize it was a western.[/quote]Neither did I. Might pick it up sometime then.


(ModernDjango) #14

Too bad this didn’t come out after the success of True Grit, then it would have gotten a proper western trailer. I had no idea the film was set in 1885 New Mexico until the subtitle came up on the screen. It seems like all of the marketing was built around trying to hide this fact.

For anyone who has Netflix, The Missing is currently streaming and is definitely worth a watch. Seraphim Falls is another one worth checking out.


(Phil H) #15

Again, agreed. Seraphim Falls was very good and Brosnan and Neeson did a fine job in it.


(Guerrilla) #16

“The Missing” is one of my favorite so called “revisionist westerns”