The Missing Reviews

Top Critic
Derek Adams
Time Out
February 9, 2006
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Peter Rainer
New York Magazine/Vulture
August 7, 2004
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Peter Travers
Rolling Stone
December 12, 2003
Even Cate Blanchett can't save this misbegotten horse opera.
| Original Score: 1/4
Top Critic
Andrew Sarris
New York Observer
December 10, 2003
Mr. Howard keeps the emotional temperature of the family reunion as chilly as possible, but it's clear that the father-daughter relationship is the core of the drama, and the rest is all time-consuming digressions.
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Rex Reed
New York Observer
December 4, 2003
The rawest, scariest, most nerve-rattling saddlebags-and- sagebrush saga since Robert Mulligan's The Stalking Moon.
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Richard Roeper
Ebert & Roeper
December 1, 2003
... a strange and haunting hybrid that's part Western, part supernatural thriller.
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St. Louis Post-Dispatch
November 29, 2003
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Charles Taylor
Salon.com
November 29, 2003
The Missing is holiday entertainment for anyone who likes either a dollop of feminist uplift or family values (or both!) with their bloodletting.
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Bill Muller
Arizona Republic
November 28, 2003
There's a pretty good Western hidden somewhere amid the extraneous scenes, unnecessary characters and adoring shots of the New Mexico wilderness, but Howard didn't have the heart to cut his movie.
| Original Score: 3/5
Top Critic
Desson Thomson
Washington Post
November 26, 2003
In The Missing, Ron Howard somehow makes a great movie and an awful movie, all at the same time.
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Ann Hornaday
Washington Post
November 26, 2003
The Missing hews in every way to the conventions of its genre.
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Mike Clark
USA Today
November 26, 2003
An admirably solid effort.
Top Critic
Geoff Pevere
Toronto Star
November 26, 2003
At once racially fearful, and anxiously apologetic, patriarchal and post-feminist, pacifist and trigger-happy -- The Missing is engaged in one big, long desert showdown with itself.
Full Review | Original Score: 2/5
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Moira MacDonald
Seattle Times
November 26, 2003
Despite the actors' hard work (particularly Blanchett), the whole experience ultimately has a careful blandness to it, and the family-unity theme is hit with the subtlety of a hundred hammers.
Full Review | Original Score: 2.5/4
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Mick LaSalle
San Francisco Chronicle
November 26, 2003
A routine thriller, with Western frills and fringes.
Full Review | Original Score: 2/4
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Roger Moore
Orlando Sentinel
November 26, 2003
The Missing is often entertaining. But plainly something more was aimed for, and incredibly simple, basic missteps keep the film from reaching the next level.
Full Review | Original Score: 3/5
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Megan Lehmann
New York Post
November 26, 2003
A good, though not great, contribution to the genre.
| Original Score: 3/4
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Jami Bernard
New York Daily News
November 26, 2003
A big snooze because we can't take the main characters seriously.
Full Review | Original Score: 2/4
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Rene Rodriguez
Miami Herald
November 26, 2003
Suffers from the same problem that has plagued every movie Ron Howard has ever directed: It's crisp, efficient, well-made and strangely, vaguely dull.
Full Review | Original Score: 2/4
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Scott Foundas
L.A. Weekly
November 26, 2003
A potent look at the harsh realities of frontier life and the disillusionment of the pioneer dream, framed in appropriately spare, unadorned widescreen compositions ... that is, until the movie gives way to a wholly unnecessary strain of witchcraft.
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Eric Harrison
Houston Chronicle
November 26, 2003
There are some Western themes and principles you can't fiddle with. Thankfully, when it counted most, Howard didn't try.
Full Review | Original Score: B-
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Liam Lacey
Globe and Mail
November 26, 2003
A movie that is, by turns, needlessly unpleasant for cheap effect and misguidedly heart-warming when it should remain stringent. The Missing lives down to its title.
Full Review | Original Score: 2/4
Top Critic
Tom Long
Detroit News
November 26, 2003
The Missing is an absolute knockout, a western, a chase movie, an epic and the story of a splintered family and two civilizations at odds.
| Original Score: A
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Terry Lawson
Detroit Free Press
November 26, 2003
A first-rate psychological thriller that also happens to be a classic Western.
Full Review | Original Score: 4/4
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Robert Denerstein
Denver Rocky Mountain News
November 26, 2003
The Missing works well enough as a spare portrayal of life in the West, but it never quite gels as a powerful story of reconciliation and adventure.
| Original Score: C+
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Michael Booth
Denver Post
November 26, 2003
A terrific setup, full of inviting genre familiarity and modern tension, borrowed from the novel of the same name. And then, as that mouthy teenager goes lost in an Apache raid, so does the movie itself.
Full Review | Original Score: 2.5/4
Top Critic
Roger Ebert
Chicago Sun-Times
November 26, 2003
It's such a preposterous setup that I was always aware of the plot chugging away, and the logistics of the chase defy all common sense.
Full Review | Original Score: 2/4
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Ty Burr
Boston Globe
November 26, 2003
The Missing is well made, suspenseful, and superlatively acted for the most part, but its harshness never feels organic to the tale. What should be devastating is just terribly unpleasant.
Full Review | Original Score: 2.5/4
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Todd McCarthy
Variety
November 25, 2003
As hard as it may be to reconcile this as the work of the same director who made How the Grinch Stole Christmas, the fact remains that Ron Howard has never before made a picture this raw and alive.
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Glenn Lovell
San Jose Mercury News
November 25, 2003
As harrowing as it is full-out exhilarating.
| Original Score: 4/4
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Elvis Mitchell
New York Times
November 25, 2003
Apparently the only thing tougher than endurance on the frontier is sitting through a movie about endurance on the frontier -- at least that is the point The Missing seems determined to make.
Full Review | Original Score: 2/5
Top Critic
Kenneth Turan
Los Angeles Times
November 25, 2003
The master sentimentalist has made a dark, menacing film, a lean and disturbing western with some modern subtexts that goes where no Ron Howard film has gone before.
Full Review | Original Score: 3.5/5
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Philip Wuntch
Dallas Morning News
November 25, 2003
A superbly crafted curiosity piece.
Full Review | Original Score: B
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Bob Longino
Atlanta Journal-Constitution
November 25, 2003
Absolutely shameless in its propensity for violence and nonstop action -- and, most of the time, a heck of a lot of fun to watch.
Full Review | Original Score: B-
Top Critic
Michael Atkinson
Village Voice
November 25, 2003
However bogged down by predictable story rhythms, banally assembled shoot-outs, and climactic mano a mano, The Missing has an acidic period tone, a respect for the reality of violence, and a refreshing dearth of superhuman heroics and easy triumph.
Top Critic
James Berardinelli
ReelViews
November 25, 2003
The Missing is arguably Ron Howard's grittiest effort to date as a filmmaker.
Full Review | Original Score: 3/4
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Steven Rea
Philadelphia Inquirer
November 25, 2003
Easily the best western of 2003.
| Original Score: 3/4
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John Anderson
Newsday
November 25, 2003
Although based on a novel, Thomas Eidson's The Last Ride, the story feels stretched to the snapping point and is certainly unfocused.
Full Review | Original Score: 2.5/4
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Colin Covert
Minneapolis Star Tribune
November 25, 2003
A taut, intriguing, expertly crafted tale reminiscent of John Ford's classic The Searchers.
Full Review | Original Score: 3.5/4
Top Critic
November 25, 2003
Powerful and provocative, The Missing is another masterful production from one of the industry's best directors and two of its best actors.
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Michael Wilmington
Chicago Tribune
November 25, 2003
The best and toughest western since Unforgiven.
Full Review | Original Score: 3.5/4
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Richard Schickel
TIME Magazine
November 21, 2003
Jones, the actor, has never been more wry, sly and taciturn.
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Michael Rechtshaffen
Hollywood Reporter
November 20, 2003
Beneath all the requisite genre trappings there's a vast, empty gulch where the affecting dramatic element should have been found.
Top Critic
Lisa Schwarzbaum
Entertainment Weekly
November 19, 2003
What's missing in The Missing -- despite throwing in The Everything, from magic trinkets to group hugs -- is soul.
Full Review | Original Score: C+