The Clearing - Movie Reviews - Rotten Tomatoes

The Clearing Reviews

August 1, 2004
A thriller stripped of thrills -- or, even worse, a thriller that thinks of itself as somehow rising above the vulgar pleasures of excitement.
July 9, 2004
An intriguing but dramatically stunted psychological thriller about a kidnapping.
Read More | Original Score: B
July 9, 2004
Everything about it is stultifying, unexceptional and dull.
July 9, 2004
It's watchable only if you don't mind that there isn't a shock, a surprise or a message in its 91 minutes.
Read More | Original Score: 2/5
July 9, 2004
A kidnapping drama that may be too intentionally low-key to qualify as a thriller but that accrues weight and tension as it makes its way through a forest of repressed emotion.
Full Review | Original Score: 3/4
July 8, 2004
Redford and Dafoe have all the fun, but Mirren exhibits the most talent.
Read More | Original Score: 3.5/5
July 8, 2004
The film is written, directed and enacted with palpable intelligence. But intelligence can seem dull if unleavened by wit or excitement.
Full Review | Original Score: C+
July 8, 2004
What had been an intelligent and intriguing thriller loses its bearing, its momentum and, eventually, its audience.
July 3, 2004
Some nice writing and a commitment to craftsmanship are evident, but the voltage here is simply too low to engage us.
Read More | Original Score: C
July 2, 2004
The acting was very effective...
July 2, 2004
We are lured into the woods brimming with expectations, but ultimately, we find ourselves looking for the wrong sort of clearing: a way out.
July 2, 2004
It stays in character, small, human, bitter and sad.
July 2, 2004
This is one of those moderately engrossing movies that seems to collapse all at once during the wrap-up, yet it's well-acted all around, especially by its star, who once again reminds us why audiences have liked him for 40 years.
Read More | Original Score: 2.5/4
July 2, 2004
You want to see this one for the acting.
Full Review | Original Score: 3/5
July 2, 2004
It's still worth a look, for the pleasures of Mirren's peerlessly dry performance.
Read More | Original Score: 2.5/4
July 2, 2004
The brilliance of The Clearing lies in its ability to tell parallel stories and make both equally riveting.
Full Review | Original Score: 4/4
July 2, 2004
A movie like this doesn't need excellent taste. It needs sweaty desperation, and bitter recriminations.
July 2, 2004
It all adds up to an acute character study -- but as a thriller, it's too cerebral to quicken the pulse.
Read More | Original Score: 2.5/4
July 2, 2004
The performances by the three principals are first-rate.
Read More | Original Score: 3/4
July 2, 2004
Hollow and slow.
Full Review | Original Score: 2/4
July 2, 2004
When the psychology is incomprehensibly vague, and the thrills nowhere in sight, I'd say the mess is complete.
Full Review | Original Score: 1.5/4
July 2, 2004
As fine a performance as Mirren gives -- capturing Eileen's apprehension and sturdiness at once -- Redford is the chief reason to see The Clearing.
Read More | Original Score: 2.5/4
July 2, 2004
What eventually happens will emerge from the personalities of the characters, not from the requirements of Hollywood endings. Sensing that, we grow absorbed in the story, knowing that what happens along the way will decide what happens at the end.
Full Review | Original Score: 3/4
July 2, 2004
Discreetly filmed, slowly paced, looking for deeper motivation in every glance and comment, The Clearing never comes up with the emotional gold to justify the dig.
Full Review | Original Score: 2/4
July 1, 2004
Brugge's acutely observant direction and Justin Haythe's thoughtful script allow Robert Redford, Helen Mirren and Willem Dafoe to give performances that rank among their best.
Full Review | Original Score: 4.5/5
July 1, 2004
Mr. Brugge has perhaps succeeded in avoiding vulgar melodrama, but he has hit on something far worse -- a bloodless melodrama, with bottled water running in its veins.
Full Review | Original Score: 1.5/5
July 1, 2004
One of those films you end up admiring more than you enjoy.
Read More | Original Score: 2.5/4
July 1, 2004
Classy but ultimately unsatisfying.
Read More | Original Score: 2.5/4
June 30, 2004
The benefits of seeing this movie may not be worth the patience necessary to get through it.
Full Review | Original Score: 2.5/4
June 30, 2004
The Clearing is just an OK thriller, full of standard scenarios and cookie-cutter characters.
Full Review | Original Score: 2/4
June 30, 2004
Redford and Mirren, two masters of contained emotion, keep us peering intently at their faces, searching for clues -- not as to whether Wayne will survive, but whether this marriage will.
June 30, 2004
The story is Redford's, but with [Mirren's] trademark brisk practicality and ease in her own skin, she ransoms the actor from the constrictions of his self-definition as a romantic movie star.
Full Review | Original Score: B-
June 29, 2004
A character-driven suspenser that engages the mind more than the emotions, but neither grippingly.
June 29, 2004
With the emotional reins of the movie firmly in her grasp, Mirren never condescends to her character, investing her with an unshakable poise that unnerves even as it reassures those around her.
June 29, 2004
Brugge and Haythe fail to satisfactorily pull off either the thriller or the marital deconstruction.
June 17, 2004
The pleasures of this endeavor, directed with a keen eye for detail by Pieter Jan Brugge, come from what the actors bring to the material.
Read More | Original Score: 3/4