The Missing

The Missing
Cast: Cate Blanchett, Tommy Lee Jones, Aaron Eckhart, Evan Rachel Wood, Eric Schweig.
Director: Ron Howard
Genre: Western
Rated: M 15+
Running Time: 137 minutes

After the phenomenal success of A Beautiful Mind, consider this a change of pace for director Ron Howard. A methodically plotted western, it combines 'chase' elements of the all time classic The Searchers, with the story of an estranged father and daughter seeking some kind of catharsis as they attempt to save a kidnapped child.

Maggie (Blanchett) is as tough as they come, a widower tending her land in the old west with aid of her two daughters and a man she loves but refuses to marry (Aaron Eckhart). When her father Samuel (Tommy Lee Jones) unexpectedly turns up on her doorstep 30 years after abandoning her family to live amongst a Chippawa tribe, she understandably wants nothing to do with him. But when her lover is brutally slaughtered, and her eldest daughter Lily (Evan Rachel Wood) kidnapped, Maggie realises that Samuel may be their only chance of rescuing her daughter from being sold as a sex slave in Mexico. After a lifetime of separation, can Maggie and Samuel salvage what remains of their relationship and overcome the psychopathic Witch Doctor Chidin before Lily crosses the border and is lost to them forever...

Those who have seen the trailer for this film could be forgiven for expecting a supernatural thriller of sorts. Instead what you'll get is a re-imagining of the classic western, even if it does come almost a decade after Unforgiven (a far superior film). That being said, The Missing does have its high moments, most either featuring the ever reliable Blanchett, or Eric Schweig's genuinely spooky portrayal of Chidin.

The chameleon-like Cate once again proves a shining light in a movie that may otherwise have slipped entirely under most cinemagoer's radar. If you're prepared to give The Missing a chance, you shouldn't be disappointed.

- Paul Jenner