The Clearing

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Retrieved from " https: Disambiguation pages with short description All article disambiguation pages All disambiguation pages. An intriguing but dramatically stunted psychological thriller about a kidnapping. It's watchable only if you don't mind that there isn't a shock, a surprise or a message in its 91 minutes. A kidnapping drama that may be too intentionally low-key to qualify as a thriller but that accrues weight and tension as it makes its way through a forest of repressed emotion.

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I just expected a lot more in the end, and really just didn't get it with a routine script, bland plot, and an ending that was too sudden to be accepted. Mirren passes through entire scenes without a word, not needing to speak, as every feeling is writ large across her beautifully expressive face. It's pretty bland, even though the trailer would lead you to believe otherwise. Lacking car chases, explosions, gun shoot-outs, a sex scene, and most of the typical hallmarks of most of the typical thrillers, what remains is the slow dawning realization that one may not get the typical summation that one has been trained to look for.

The actors seem happy to present that as well, a refreshing change from the typical, and perhaps a look at the reality of these situations. Much better than I'd anticipated, not the biggest fan of Helen Mirran nor Robert Redford and yet both gave enjoyable performances. This little drama is a slow-burn thriller about a successful businessman Redford who is one day kidnapped and held for ransom by a former employee Dafoe.

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Once word gets out about the abduction, it is up to the businessman's wife Mirren to deliver the ransom. The ideas going on, and the way they are executed is kinda alrighr, and this had the potential to be really good. However, the film ultimately faisl to deliver a product that is as compelling as it could be.

The film is edited in a way to make it seem that all the events are happening simultaneously, when in reality this isn't quite the case. I kinda liked this idea, but with the way it plays out, I think the film would have ultimately been far better and stronger had they just told it in a more straightforward fashion, with greater emphasis on motives, characters, and that kind of thing.

All of that is there, but it seems a little weak. Maybe I should just try to overlook that though since this was Pieter Jan Brugge's first film as a director.

The Clearing

There are things I liked about it. The casting is good, and they give pretty decent performances.

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The film has a good atmosphere and tone, and there are some parts that are really suspenseful and done quite well. I was never bored watching the film, yet it left me a little unfulfilled and wondering why the people behind the film made the decisions they did.

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Despite it's problems and the fact that it ultimately isn't a successful movie, you can tell they tried to make it good. The psychological elements are nice, too. I don't really ultimately recommend it, yet I still kinda liked it, or at least some it, or the concepts. I wantd this to be good, and even though it's not, it does come fairly close. Wayne Robert Redford and Eileen Helen Mirren Hayes, together they have raised two children and really struggled to build a successful business from the ground up.

But there have been sacrifices along the way. Bush's military service, and the subsequent firestorm of criticism that cost anchor Dan Rather and producer Mary Mapes their careers. 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. This was, hands down, the biggest surprise of a film that I have encountered in a very long time.

I had to watch this film twice to fully understand and appreciate the value placed behind it. The Clearing was one of those films that didn't do well at the box-office, so people didn't bother seeing it when it was released on video. I must admit, I was one of them. This film brought more than just a kidnapping caper to the table, it brought some family drama, the unbreakable bond between husband and wife, and the idea of the American Dream as told by two ends of the spectrum.

To begin, this is not a linear story. It kept me guessing throughout the entire film as to what was happening to Redford's character while the drama at home continued to build. Here we have the events happening to Redford going on in real time and how the pressures of the immediate threat are being handled, but then you have the family struggle, which is taking place over several days to show how easily something like this can devastate and ravish a family.

This also allowed us to become more emotionally attached to Redford's family as well as to Redford himself. Strangely, I found myself equally attached to Willem Dafoe's character due to my experience living in the middle of the income line. There seemed to be some honesty and truth in the banter between Redford and Dafoe that I honestly never saw coming. Here we had two humans out in nature discussing life and death as if this was their final moments on the planet.

We had front row seats with the ability to hear how these two grown men handled the stress of their day to day activities, and how we could somehow relate. This was a film about relating, about understanding the pressures that these individual people were experiencing. Redford was perfect, as this tired father who lusts for life, but just doesn't quite show it until the final moments are settling in.

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Dafoe should have won an Oscar for his role in this film as a very humble kidnapper who takes pride in what he is doing as well as does it with the highest amount of kindness in his heart. He does it for his wife. This brings a smile on my face to say, but this is a film about wives. Each of these men are going through life to ensure that their wife stays happy and in love with them.


Dafoe thinks it can happen by having enough money so his wife will not work, Redford sees it too late and reminds his wife of a happy time in their marriage. It is sad, from one married man to another it is a very personal and touching story about the woman that is your soul mate. Then, as if director Pieter Jan Brugge, didn't stab our hearts enough, he gives us this expanded look at Redford's family and the inner struggles they are facing with not knowing if their father is alive.

What is so interesting about this is that before this event took place, there was not much of a family dynamic going on in Redford's house. They were stale, and strangely this horrific event brought them closer together than imagined. We get to see the unparalleled emotion behind Helen Mirren that I have not seen in a very long time.