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The Missing

How far would you go, how much would you sacrifice to get back what you have lost? 

Year: 2003 
Running Time:
Aspect Ratio: 2.39:1 (Scope) 
Certificate: BBFC 15 Cert – Not suitable for under 15s 
Subtitles: The level of subtitling in this film is unknown to WSC 
Directed by Unknown 
Starring: Unknown  
An image from The Missing

The Missing is an action-packed drama set in 19th-century New Mexico. Samuel (Tommy Lee Jones) returns to his home town where he hopes to reconcile with his now adult daughter, Maggie, (Cate Blanchett) for leaving many years ago. At first, Maggie wants none of it, but when her partner (Aaron Eckhart) is killed and one of her daughters is kidnapped by a group of savage Apaches, she is forced to work with him to remain hot on the kidnappers’ tracks.

In my opinion, this film sees Tommy Lee Jones regain his status as one of Hollywood’s finest actors of today. He goes far beyond his acting duties, even learning the native language to make his role all the more convincing. Cate Blanchett, an actress possessing the rare gift of finding it impossible to make a bad film, is brilliant as always, showing much dynamism and accuracy in her portrayal of the strong-willed Maggie.

What is particularly brilliant about The Missing is its combination of genres. Sub-plots such as Maggie’s quiet grievance for her murdered lover and frustration with her previously-absent father combine with scenes of fast-paced action and even witchcraft. As aforementioned, Blanchett and Jones’ acting is sublime throughout, but no action film is complete without its fearsome enemy. The kidnappers, attempting to escape over the border into Mexico to sell the girls that they have captured, are led by a hideous Apache, capable of casting spells, one of which delays Maggie’s pursuit.

Despite missing out on this year’s Academy Awards nominations, arguably because it was released at the same time as films such as Lost in Translation and Master and Commander, Ron Howard’s The Missing really is nothing short of amazing. At last, cinema goers get the sort of action film they have been impatiently waiting for. This really is not to be missed.

Ricky Anthony Wyatt

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Screenings of this film:

2003/2004 Summer Term (35mm)
2003/2004 Summer Term (35mm)