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The Clearing (2004) - movie overview

The Clearing (2004)

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(41 votes)
Critic Rating
(13 reviews)
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Plot Description
Shooting Locations

Original title: Clearing, The

Release Date
• USA: Jul 2, 2004
DVD Release Date
• R1: Nov 9, 2004
• R2: 21 Feb 2005
BoxOffice: $5.6M

Official Website:
The Clearing Website

MPAA Rating

Running Time
1 hour, 31 minutes

Country USA, Germany

Studio Thousand Words, Wildwood

More info on

Other Titles
• The Clearing (2004)

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Genre: Thriller, Drama, Betrayal, Deception, Suspense, Kidnapping, Hostage, Infidelity, Capers, True Story, Marriage

Plot: Wayne and Eileen Hayes (Robert Redford, Helen Mirren) appear to be living the American dream. But all illusions are shattered when Wayne is kidnapped in broad daylight from the Hayes’ peaceful Pittsburgh estate.

Under the microscope of a probing FBI investigation and her own painstaking introspection, Wayne’s wife Eileen also becomes a victim. The interrogation introduces a life underneath outward appearances; the suspicions, the secrets, the inadequacies, and what can happen along the way to achieving the American dream.

Suddenly the man who, at one point in his life, prided himself on being a cunning negotiator finds his fate resting in the hands of a kidnapper (Willem Dafoe) who has nothing to lose and everything to gain. Will he succeed in the most important negotiation ever...for his

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 External Reviews
external linkMr. 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.

external linkThe Clearing is being positioned as "adult counter-programming" for the summer season, but the benefits of seeing this movie may not be worth the patience necessary to get through it. 2.5/4
--James Berardinelli (ReelViews)

external linkRobert Redford as a kidnapped CEO finally lets go of his boyishness, but can anyone hold a candle to Helen Mirren?
--Stephanie Zacharek (Salon)

external linkI'm glad the movie didn't go all Tinseltown at the end. It stays in character, small, human, bitter and sad.
--Stephen Hunter (Washington Post)

external linkA motley mix of a film – police procedural, violent thriller, and suburban marital angst – that ends up being less than the sum of its parts. 67/100
--Dan Jardine (Apollo Guide)

external link'THE Clearing" is an extremely well- acted thriller that simply fails to thrill. 2.5/4
--Lou Lumenick (New York Post)

external linkRedford's performance is strong and assured. He projects the right balance of confidence and moral malaise. But neither he nor the filmmakers justify our initial investment in the movie. We are lured into the woods brimming with expectations, but ultimately, we find ourselves looking for the wrong sort of clearing: a way out.
--Desson Thomson (Washington Post)

external linkThe Clearing is a quiet, thoughtful film that slowly builds suspense that is not released until the very end. Although there are some contrivances in the plot, the acting is superb throughout and the film works as a psychological thriller, a meditation on loss and regret, and a character study of two flawed but loving people who have forgotten how to express their joy in living.
--Howard Schumann (CineScene)

 Directed by
Pieter Jan Brugge
Heat, The Insider, The Pelican Brief
 Written by
Pieter Jan Brugge
Heat, The Insider, The Pelican Brief
Robert Redford
The Sting, Spy Game, Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid
Helen Mirren
The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, Gosford Park, Excalibur
Willem Dafoe
Spider-Man, Spider-Man 2, Finding Nemo
Alessandro Nivola
Face/Off, Jurassic Park III, Laurel Canyon
Matt Craven
A Few Good Men, Crimson Tide, The Life of David Gale
Melissa Sagemiller
Get Over It, Soul Survivors, Sorority Boys
Wendy Crewson
What Lies Beneath, Air Force One, The 6th Day
 Music By
Craig Armstrong
Love Actually, Ray, The Bone Collector

external linkWhere the movie leads us is interesting, but not nearly as compelling as the journey there. A-
--Eric D. Snider (

external linkDon't go in expecting a thriller and you might be happily surprised by this engaging psychological character drama with elements of suspense. 7/10
--'JoBlo' (

Helen Mirren in The Clearing Wallpaper 2
©2004 Twentieth Century Fox

See all The Clearing wallpapers

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