The Clearing

2004

Drama / Mystery / Thriller

The Clearing (2004) download yts

Synopsis


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Cast

Helen Mirren as Eileen Hayes
Robert Redford as Wayne Hayes
Willem Dafoe as Arnold Mack
Melissa Sagemiller as Jill Hayes
720p
753.07 MB
1280*720
R
23.976 fps
1hr 35 min
P/S Unknown

Movie Reviews

Reviewed by Michael Margetis 7 / 10

Well Acted, Well Crafted and Yet a Little Disappointing.

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)

Reviewed by Greg 7 / 10

A great character driven caper

Robert Redford is an icon. From the same DNA strand as Paul Newman and Clint Eastwood, younger viewers might not be as versed as to their contributions over the past fifty years of film. In fact, when I asked a just 20-something person at the office about Mr. Redford, I got films like The Last Castle, Spy Games and The Horse Whisperer as their reference to the name. No Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid. No The Candidate, and I won't even begin to explain the bewildered expression I received when I mentioned All The President's Men.

Based on this ignorance (the word sounds a lot stronger than it is intended), I don't expect to see the character driven The Clearing burning up the box office figures when it is released amongst a host of summer blockbusters. With it's three main stars being in their 40's, 50's and 60's, I expect that younger audiences might prefer some strange movie about a radioactive spider bitten school boy that opens the same week-end.

The Clearing is a story about a successful businessman, Wayne (Redford), who is kidnapped by down on his luck Arnold Mack (Willem Dafoe) and held for a ransom of $10 million in a secluded forest. Motive being solely money and a second chance at life, Arnold toys with Wayne's wife Eileen (Helen Mirren) and the F.B.I. sending them clues and cryptic instructions in efforts to secure his bounty. Like most kidnapping films, the movie can only end one of two ways really, and don't expect that to be revealed here.

The Clearing is not the first kidnapping movie and will be far from the last. Sometimes it is done well (Man on Fire), sometimes bad (Proof of Life) and most times, Hollywood and test audiences determine the ending or the amount of drama they will allow their leading cast to perform (Ransom).

That is why The Clearing was, well…refreshing. As a small, independent film, The Clearing doesn't have to answer to the harsh brass that sway their approach based on night vision goggles in darkened theaters. It can tell a story the way the filmmaker intended; raw, intense and without all the loose ends tied up like a front of the tree Christmas present.

Instead, director Pieter Jan Brugge can let his actors do what they do best and wow us with the way they work a camera and capture an audience using a look or a sneer. Pieter assembled the perfect cast for his directorial debut. Dafoe is subtle as the kidnapping brainchild, but he is also able to project a vulnerability that could have been awfully laughable in the hands of a lesser actor. Redford, coming off two paycheck roles in Spy Game and The Last Castle, is equally convincing as a man flawed in character and without excuses. When Wayne is confronted about his infidelity, he doesn't try to skirt the issue and there are no attempts to justify the action. Instead, his deep blue eyes are able to relay back to the audience that of a man who wishes things could have been different and who seems genuinely concerned about the hurt he may have caused others.

But maybe the best acting within the films running time is in the performance of Helen Mirren. Having to deal with the uncertainty of her husband, the confrontation with his mistress and an F.B.I. agent that tends to cause more harm than benefit, Mirren projects a woman of strength and stamina that is believable in her actions and in her approach to finding a fitting conclusion to the complex ordeal. Handling the situation with class and grace, yet frequently in panic over the possibilities, Mirren gives what is undoubtedly her strongest on screen performance in the past 10 years.

It was a bit of a surprise in 2004 when The Clearing appeared at the Sundance Film Festival in Utah. Not that it isn't the type of film that these festivals build their foundations upon, but the fact that this was the first starring vehicle for Redford to be shown at the festival to which he created. Looking at his last 10 or so role choices, a better selection could not have been made.

So for any of you younger folk that might find themselves to the end of this review, do yourself a favor and start to amass a viewing catalog that will include Redford, Newman and Eastwood while we still have time to enjoy their continued efforts. These great men might never be equaled. Heck, you don't expect one day to see an Adam Sandler Salad Dressing do you?

Reviewed by noralee 5 / 10

Kidnapping as Cross-Class Conflict


"The Clearing" is a taut, suspenseful kidnapping story.

But the tension is primarily ratcheted up not by action, but what we learn what stuff each of the characters is made of, particularly as to how superbly Helen Mirren and Willem Dafoe surround Robert Redford.

Ironically, Mirren's husband Taylor Hackford directed a more muddled take on a very similar story line in "Proof of Life," which couldn't decide if it was an action movie or a drama. Here first-time writer Justin Haythe and director Pieter Jan Brugge are more focused, even while playing a few tricks on the viewer with time-shifting "Rashomon" rewinds, though there are a couple of questionable holes in the story as it takes surprising directions.

It's a relief to finally see Redford in a role fitting his age, with an age-appropriate spouse and adult children, including Alessandro Nivola not playing his usual sensual snake. It's nice to see Mirren get to play an attractive, rich matron who can carry off nice clothes and hair styles as she usually hides herself in her roles.

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