This movie is really staying with me. Fabulous to see such great actors
at the top of their game (and thank heavens it wasn't made with a bunch
of beautiful 30 somethings that are regularly all over People mag).
For those that think they wasted 2 hours of their lives - I'm sorry.
For those that can handle a movie that slowly unfolds its treasures,
and leaves you places to think your own thoughts (silence and minimal
scoring is used to great effect) - this will do it.
It isn't fast, and it isn't tidy, and it doesn't hand you all of the
solutions (it's as thoughtful and deliberate as the first Alien movie).
If you need it all wrapped up quick and pretty, then I suggest a good
Die Hard movie....
Redford and Defoe have each other to act against while Mirren is all on her own
The Clearing is among the movies on IMDb that have fewest comments and
yet its comments have said most that need to be said. Best is the
summary line 'a movie for adults'. Indeed kids (not measured by the
number years they have existed but rather by their mental constitution,
i.e. those who can't sit still in a movie that does not dump sex,
profanity, violence at them every 5 seconds) need not apply.
Also right to the point is the remark on the three remarkable
performances. (No, the pun was definitely not intended). The only thing
I would add is that the lady has a much more difficult job than the two
It's much easier to act against someone with equal weight than to act
alone. The performances of Redford and Defoe reflect of, and enhance,
each other's. The drama arising from the conflict of psyche between
kidnapper and kidnap victim has been played out in many movies. Some of
these conflicts are racially or gender triggered. Here in The Clearing,
it's socially rooted, a self-made man who believes that if you don't
succeed, it must be your own fault and a disgruntle ex-employee, a
loser who blames his failure on the system a rather classic class
confrontation. While this confrontation underscores the relationship
between these two men, the also share, even to the extent of
commiserating, their respective family problems.
Unlike the two lucky gentlemen, Mirren is very much on her own. This is
not to say that she goes through the movie reciting soliloquies. She
has everybody in the supporting cast to act against the detective,
her family, her husband's mistress and this is a good supporting
cast. And yet, unlike Redford and Defoe, there is nobody acting against
her as a dramatic EQUAL (the mistress is the closest, but not quite
getting there). And indeed, there are also quite a few scenes where she
is all on her own. Mirren pulls this off beautifully, as expected of
her, and shines among the three as the brightest star.
Finally, Mirren and Redford only acted against each other in the very
beginning of the movie, in a totally ordinary, everyday domestic scene
of a husband having breakfast at home before going to work. But then, a
large portion of the story is about them, husband and wife. Without
having any emotionally charged scenes between them, they somehow
manage, through acting separately, to bring across the heart-wrenching
poignancy. This is the most remarkable thing of all..