The Missing

2003

The Missing

Critics Consensus

An expertly acted and directed Western. But like other Ron Howard features, the movie is hardly subtle.

58%

TOMATOMETER

Total Count: 173

50%

Audience Score

User Ratings: 49,887

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Movie Info

In 1885 New Mexico, a frontier medicine woman forms an uneasy alliance with her estranged father when her daughter is kidnapped by an Apache brujo.

Cast

Tommy Lee Jones
as Samuel Lee
Cate Blanchett
as Maggie Gilkeson
Evan Rachel Wood
as Lilly Gilkeson
Jenna Boyd
as Dot Gilkeson
Aaron Eckhart
as Brake Baldwin
Val Kilmer
as Lt. Jim Ducharme
Steve Reevis
as Two Stone
Jay Tavare
as Kayitah
Ray McKinnon
as Rusell J. Wintick
Max Perlich
as Isaac Edgerly
Ramon Frank
as Grummond
Deryle J. Lujan
as Naazhaao (Hunter)
Matthew E. Montoya
as Tsi Beoyuao (Blowing Tree)
Joe Saenz
as Mba'tsu-Naabitin (Wolf Trail)
Gandi Shaw
as Izhashe (Bird)
Rod Rondeaux
as Hudlao (The One Who Laughs)
Juddson Linn
as Chauaiao (Evening Time)
Alvin William "Dutch" Lunak
as Aii Sionzilo (Wild Horse)
Josephine Swann
as Baby Sally
Alexandra Eisch
as Baby Sally
Yolanda Nez
as Aii Dahit'eeo
Heather Gulas
as Captive Girl
Scarlett McAlister
as Captive Girl
Aura Jensen-Curtis
as Captive Girl
Shelby Kocurek
as Captive Girl
Molly McAlister
as Captive Girl
Angelina C. Torres
as Esmerelda Nunez
Deborah Martinez
as Maria Nunez
Clint Howard
as Sheriff Purdy
Rance Howard
as Telegraph Operator
Arron Shiver
as Rancher
David Midthunder
as Apache Scout
Paul Scallan
as Stokley
Jerry King
as Drunk Soldier
Jim Tarwater
as Drunk Soldier
Clemente Spottedhorse
as Captured Apache
Brian Brown
as Mexican Slave Trader
Toby Holguin
as Mexican Slave Trader
Eddie J. Fernandez
as Mexican Slave Traders
Eddie Fernandez
as Mexican Slave Trader
Jason Rodriguez
as Mexican Slave Trader
Cliff Happy
as Mr. Jones Stunt Double
Rio Alexander
as Mr. Schweig Stunt Double
Robert Harman
as Macy Devenport
View All

Critic Reviews for The Missing

All Critics (173) | Top Critics (40) | Fresh (101) | Rotten (72)

Audience Reviews for The Missing

  • Feb 21, 2016
    Scenic with a couple of well shot scenes. Tommy Lee Jones growls his way through the script and Cate Blanchett is a hard ass Dr. Quinn medicine woman. Together they go on a quite engrossing rescue mission.
    Sanity Assassin ! Super Reviewer
  • Apr 05, 2015
    A good movie if you like your westerns without a lot of fluff. Maggie's older daughter is kidnapped by a creepy native psychopath, and it is up to Maggie and her father (who she detests) to save her. As well as dealing with the kidnappers, the relationship between Maggie and her dad must be settled. There is a lot going on in this movie.
    Red L Super Reviewer
  • May 25, 2012
    I am prompted to write this review because I've seen so many negative reviews of The Missing, while personally I enjoyed it and believe it can be defended as at least a good film. It's a modern western, a gripping, chilling adventure, in the vein of John Ford's The Searchers but not so epic in scope or tone. The Missing is beautifully shot and brutal at times, a dark, supernatural spin on the western genre, non-traditional even more with a dominant heroine. This type of tale; white girls kidnapped by ruthless Indians prompting a desperate pursuit and siege, has been done before, but this take is fresh. I believe the cast to be excellent, and I appreciate director Ron Howard's approach to the characters. Cate Blanchett is the heroine, effective, tough, and believable. Tommy Lee Jones' character is less effective but no less interesting. He's colorful; he adds expertise, but his heavy baggage and decades-long neglect negate any real leadership potential. Blanchett is the dominant force, and the father-daughter dynamic back-story adds some depth. The Indian sorcerer character, played by Eric Schweig, is brutal and riveting. He's the most frightening character I remember since Hannibal Lecter. His performance is unforgettable, Oscar-caliber. The Missing isn't perfect, but it is an excellent addition to the modern western alongside: Unforgiven, 3:10 to Yuma, and Purgatory. This story has been criticized for being improbable and melodramatic, but from what I've read, Ron Howard insisted on authenticity throughout the film making process. Call the story unbelievable, so suspend a little disbelief here and go along for the ride. You'll enjoy it.
    Clintus M Super Reviewer
  • Mar 20, 2012
    With a title like that, I was expecting this to be some kind of western-"mystery"-thriller, partially because I was hoping that this would redeem Ron Howard after his other mystery-thriller, "The Da Vinci Code". Now, granted, this came out before "The Da Vinci Code", but hey, I don't care what time it is, just as long as something Ron Howard did washes the taste out of my mouth. Well, as much as I like this film, it's not quite that major redemption that I've been looking for, seeing as it is rather unsubtle, just like the consensus said... in a tonally jarring fashion. I love how the consensus starts out saying that the acting and directing is "expert", yet the only reason it has mixed reviews is because it's not all that subtle. Hey, now, I would understand if we were talking some Alfred Hitchcock stuff, but this is a western thriller, so I'm not asking for too much subtlety. Of course, what subtlety I am going for doesn't go completely answered by this film. No, the film isn't that far out there; it's certainly more subtle than "Tombstone", yet there's no denying that this film doesn't totally deliver on what it should. The film may be unsubtle, though it certainly boasts that pretense, being meditative, dry and undeveloped, as though it intended to draw you into the environment. Rather than neutralising the sting of flaws through an actually subtle, meditative atmosphere, Ron Howard approaches the film with convolution, which not only intensifies the pretense, but adds insult to injury by confusing you rather frequently with disjointed storytelling that all but wipes any emotional resonance clean. I really like Ron Howard more often than not, but when he slips up on something, he hits the ground hard. Sure, this film isn't on the level of failure as, well, at this point, I probably don't even have to say it, but man, do I love to, because Ron Howard needs to be reminded of the swill that was "The Da Vinci Code". Still, this film is an absolute mess, squandering potential in the heat of unjustified pretense and convolution that dilutes the human touch and could have left this product an absolutely tedious bore of a film. However, note that I said, "could have". The film's a mess, to be sure, but not an absolute failure, as it is kept floating along with, if nothing else, fine style serving as its raft. If Ron Howard is known for nothing else, it's a stellar taste in cinematography, and here, well, brother, I need not say it, but I say it anyways, loud and proud: ...Eh, the cinematography's not all that great. No, but seriously though, this film lacks that distinctive visual style that I love from Ron Howard so much, yet when he's needed most, Salvatore Totino knows how to work lighting and angles to really set a sense of claustrophobia and tension, though does not nail the tone quite as well as the great James Horner, who delivers on a dynamic, sweeping score that may not be on quite enough to keep the film from getting, not just slow, but boring, yet when it does come into play, you can pretty much take it to the bank that it's going to be hauntingly awesome. Still, a handsome visual style and knock-you-dead score is, admittedly, exactly what you can say about, well, a certain something that rhymes with "The La Zinchi Fode". For this film to not fall to pieces, it's going to have to at least get some effort from Ron Howard, and sure enough, while Howard doesn't pump this film with the subtlety and smoothness that could have saved it, when it comes to tension and compellingness, he hits just a little bit more than he misses, and for every moment where he lets you down on the emotional resonance, he picks you up just enough to see the path through to the end. Still, all I have to say is forget Totino, Horner and definately Howard, because although these people keep the film going, the product is truly carried by our well-cast leads, particularly - nay - especially Cate Blanchett, who has never disappointed before, and even when she's facing potential mediocrity, she still delivers. Something that's very unique about this film as a western is its being a portrait on a strong female hero on horseback, and if you're looking for someone who can at least deliver on that aspect of the film, few, if any actresses could pull it off as masterfully as Blanchett, who, with depth in her emoting and, well, subtlety and grace in her presence, portrays this heroine with human vulnerability and, most of all, a strong leading presence that sell you on the Maggie Gilkeson character's pain, fears, confidence and potential. She upstages every other performance in this film, yet spares the spotlight for anyone, partially because she shares such strong chemistry with all of her castmates, particularly Tommy Lee Jones, whose Samuel Jones character has quite a powerful story arc Blanchett's Maggie Gilkeson character, and he and Blanchett form quite the team as they sell you on this significant subplot that keeps you particularly glued to the screen whenever they grace it together. Overall, the film lacks the subtlety to justify its dry, sometimes meditative tone and convolutions, rendering it dull and hardly emotionally engaging, yet what keeps it alive is, if nothing else, fine visual style and riveting score work by James Horner, while what more than saves it is Ron Howard's golden moments of effective storytelling and what carries it are the powerful performances, particularly Cate Blanchett, who's powerful stand-alone emotion and compelling chemistry with Tommy Lee Jones kicks enough juice into "The Missing" to make a watchable film, regardless of its squandered potential. 2.5/5 - Fair
    Cameron J Super Reviewer

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