How far would you go, how much would you
sacrifice to get back what you have lost?
“The Missing” is a 2003 Western film directed by Ron Howard, based on Thomas Eidson’s 1996 novel “The Last Ride”. This Western thriller is set in 1885 New Mexico Territory and is notable for the authentic use of the Apache language by various actors, some of whom spent long hours studying it. The film was produced by Revolution Studios and Imagine Entertainment and distributed by Columbia Pictures. It stars Tommy Lee Jones, Cate Blanchett, Evan Rachel Wood, Jenna Boyd, Aaron Eckhart, and Eric Schweig.
Set in the late 19th-century New Mexico, Samuel Jones (Tommy Lee Jones) reappears hoping to reconcile with his adult daughter Maggie Gilkeson (Cate Blanchett). She is unable to forgive him for abandoning the family and leaving her mother to a hard life and early death. This situation changes when Pesh-Chidin (Eric Schweig) and a dozen of his followers who have left the reservation pass through the area, ritualistically killing settlers and taking their daughters to be sold into prostitution south of the American border. Among those captured is Maggie’s eldest daughter, Lilly (Evan Rachel Wood). With local law enforcement and the U.S. Cavalry unable to help, this leaves Maggie (Blanchett), her father (Jones), and the younger daughter Dot (Jenna Boyd) alone in tracking the attackers.
“The Missing” was widely panned by critics and only recouped about half of what was spent in the making of the movie. Personally, I liked this movie very much and would recommend it to anyone. Tommy Lee Jones and Cate Blanchett both give very strong performances in their respective roles. Evan Rachel Wood and the young starlet Jenna Boyd were great, both of whom had several intense emotional scenes. Eric Schweig was very convincing as the villainous Apache witch doctor. The movie itself is very suspenseful and is set at a good pace, developing the story and it’s characters well as it moves along. Also adding to the suspense is that early on in the movie the story shows that bad things happen to likable people leaving you to wonder who will survive to the end.
Overall, I feel that “The Missing” was superbly directed by Ron Howard, with excellent acting by an all star cast and great cinematography with beautiful widescreen western vistas make this a movie worth watching.
One warning though, the intense death scenes, graphic violence, and adult story line might be a bit much for young children so “parental guidance” is suggested.