The Missing is a 2003 Western Thriller directed by Ron Howard and stars Tommy Lee Jones as Samuel Jones and Cate Blanchett as Maggie Gilkeson. The film’s setting is in New Mexico in the 1800s.
The plot is based on the prevailing conflict between frontier families and Native Indians who have rebelled from the Reservations. A stranger dressed as a Native Indian(Tommy) visits a healer, Maggie Gilkeson at her ranch. The stranger is later revealed to be Maggie’s estranged father. His return heralds ill fortune to his daughters somewhat stable life. Coincidentally, Jones’ Indian name means,”Shit for luck.” This luck seems to follow him throughout the film, as he attempts to rescue his grand daughter whom was kidnapped by a rouge Apache brujo and reconciling with his daughter.
Tommy’s and Cate’s performances truly makes their character come alive. From the get go they deliver heart wrenching dialogue that compels viewers to become immersed in their world and relationships.
“What you done, cannot be undone,” declares Maggie to Jones.
“…there is nothing a man can do to protect his from himself,”remarks Jones wistfully to Maggie.
The viewer can feel their emotions and cant help but empathize with the characters trials and tribulations. Their performances demonstrate the strength of character of the people in those times. Where life and love is fierce and hard.
The combination of dialogue, dress and geography plants the viewer fully into the stage of this story. The design and layout of the ranches, town and technology create an accurate depiction of the life and times of the people in that era. The majority of the film is shot in the outdoors which also adds to the realism of the setting.
The acting performances, with the set design add emotional power and historical integrity to the film. These are real people facing real problems. However, I find the plot and quality of the film to be mediocre. Overall, the acting and set design allows me to give a recommendation to see the film. Film Rating C.