The Clearing Reviews
There are no twists, no turns, no surprises. Dafoe gamely tries to portray a nice guy who has been abused by capitalism (for want of a better word) while Reford has benefitted from it. The ridiculous choking of Arnold by Wayne, and the ensuing magical finding of the gun, Redford hanging around nd staring into the trees made my peeps laugh out load. Maybe Redford agreed with the guy and wanted to make amends for something, who knows;'but it came off silly. So the ending is only dumb if you think you are watching a kidnapping thriller. The end came because Redford had come to grips with his betrayal or his wife. Worth a watch, but don't expect a thriller...
(2004) The Clearing
What can I say, that although it's a great cast, it's still a terrible film which is a very routine kidnapping story leaving viewers still scratching their heads on the duration of the final 10 minutes. The movie is co-produced, co-written and directed by Pieter Jan Brugge starring Robert Redford as Wayne Hayes who's somewhat financially successful at doing something. As he's about to leave his driveway, he's then taken prisoner by Arnold (William Dafoe) for a ransom. Helen Mirren plays Wayne's wife and gives into Arnold's demands while reminiscent about her life.
(If you don't want to read spoils then stop reading since it's a strictly by the book kind of film with no surprises)
As Arnold (Dafoe) is forcing Wayne to walk many miles and miles through the forest. Redford's wife played by Helen Mirren is considering on paying the ransom. Except that viewers are totally oblivious during the times that happened since Dafoe has no car nor no other means of transportation to walking back this quickly into town, therefore this is the first contradiction. Viewers then find out later that Arnold (Dafoe) has always been working for himself and that he lied to Wayne and still had the audacity to kill him in cold blood even though Wayne was an all around nice guy which is contradiction #2. When Arnold was looking out at the open while Wayne escaped, who somehow had the opportunity to choke Arnold to death(who had every right to do this) but chose not to was one the most stupidest things I had ever saw anyone had ever done since Arnold was going to kill him anyway once picking up his gun which Wayne didn't pick up while Arnold was lying on the ground was a contradiction #3. Viewers are then let hanging at the end wondering whether Arnold felt very bad for what he had done for the final scene has him looking at himself at those double mirrors while Wayne's wife is looking straight at him. Anyone hoping for a feel good movie is not going to get it from this film since I feel that the real victims who suffered are it's viewers who had to waste time watching this because we don't even get to see Wayne's body, nor understand the why. If it wasn't for the performances my rating would've been much lower since I can't relate to the Redford character's actions at all, and as a result lost total credibility.
2 out of 4 stars