The Missing (2003 film)
The Missing is a 2003 American Revisionist Western thriller film directed by Ron Howard and starring Tommy Lee Jones and Cate Blanchett. It is based on Thomas Eidson's 1996 novel The Last Ride. The film is set in 1885 New Mexico Territory and is notable for the authentic use of the Apache language by various actors, some of whom spent long hours studying it. The film was produced by Revolution Studios, Imagine Entertainment, and Daniel Ostroff Productions and distributed by Columbia Pictures (Sony Pictures Releasing).
Theatrical release poster
|Directed by||Ron Howard|
|Produced by||Brian Grazer|
|Written by||Ken Kaufman|
|Based on||The Last Ride|
by Thomas Eidson
|Music by||James Horner|
|Distributed by||Sony Pictures Releasing|
|Box office||$38.4 million|
In late 19th-century New Mexico, Samuel Jones reappears hoping to reconcile with his adult daughter Magdalena "Maggie" Gilkeson. She is unable to forgive him for abandoning the family and leaving her mother to a hard life and early death. This situation changes when renegade Apache Pesh-Chidin, alias El Brujo, and a dozen of his followers (who have left the reservation) pass through the area, ritualistically killing settlers and taking their daughters to be sold into sex slavery in Mexico. Among those captured is Maggie's eldest daughter, Lilly. Maggie's rancher boyfriend Brake Baldwin was among the settlers killed.
The U.S. Cavalry refuses to help retrieve the captive women as its resources are tied up conducting forced relocation of captive Native Americans. This leaves Maggie, her father, and her younger daughter Dot alone in tracking the attackers. The group unexpectedly meets up with Kayitah, a Chiricahua, and an old friend of Jones, who also happens to be tracking the attackers with his son Honesco, because among the captives is a young Chiricahua woman who is engaged to Honesco. After the two agree to join the group, and Maggie treats Honesco's injuries, Kayitah informs Maggie that Jones had been a member of their Chiricahua band where he gained the name Chaa-duu-ba-its-iidan ("shit for luck") during his wanderings.
It is finally with the combined efforts of the two families that they are able to free the women, at the cost of Kayitah's life, and immediately flee to the mountains with the kidnappers behind them. Knowing they have no other choice but to stand their ground, the group fights off the remaining kidnappers. During the battle, Jones fights El Brujo, the one responsible for kidnapping his granddaughter. When Brujo attempts to kill Maggie with a shotgun, Jones sacrifices his life to save his daughter as both he and Brujo fall off a cliff to their deaths. Maggie shoots at the last remaining kidnappers to scare them off. She realizes her father's love for her and finally forgives him.
Then she goes home with her father's body, her daughters and the other kidnapped girls.
- Tommy Lee Jones as Samuel Jones / Chaa-duu-ba-its-iidan
- Cate Blanchett as Magdalena 'Maggie' Gilkeson
- Evan Rachel Wood as Lilly Gilkeson
- Jenna Boyd as Dot Gilkeson
- Aaron Eckhart as Brake Baldwin
- Val Kilmer as Lieutenant Jim Ducharme
- Sergio Calderón as Emiliano
- Eric Schweig as Club Foot El Brujo / Pesh-Chidin
- Elisabeth Moss as Anne
- Steve Reevis as Two Stone
- Jay Tavare as Kayitah
- Simon Baker as Honesco
- Deryle J. Lujan as Naazhaao
- David Midthunder as Happy Jim
- Clint Howard as Sheriff Purdy
- Ray McKinnon as Russell J. Wittick
- Max Perlich as Isaac Edgerly
The film earned mixed reviews from critics, earning it a 58% rating on Rotten Tomatoes with the general consensus being: "An expertly acted and directed Western. But like other Ron Howard features, the movie is hardly subtle." Philip French of The Observer referred to the film as Howard's "finest film to date," and Michael Wilmington of the Chicago Tribune called it the "best and toughest western since Unforgiven."
The Missing was well received among Native American populations within the United States, many of them citing the use of the Apache language to be clearly spoken and well understood. Actors such as Tommy Lee Jones, Jay Tavare, Simon R. Baker, and others had to learn to speak some dialogue in the Chiricahua dialect of the Apache language that was used throughout the film. Tavare has noted that there are only about 300 people still fluent in Chiricahua today, and following screenings of the film, Native American students said the film helped stimulate pride through its authenticity.
- "THE MISSING (15)". British Board of Film Classification. 2003-11-10. Retrieved 2012-12-22.
- "Howard gets his wish: A rough, tough western". Chicago Tribune. November 30, 2003. Retrieved November 17, 2015.
- The Missing at Box Office Mojo
- Richard Benke (December 18, 2003). "Apaches laud accuracy in 'The Missing' movie". The Seattle Times. Retrieved July 25, 2014.
- "The Missing (2003)". New York Times. Retrieved July 25, 2014.
- "The Missing (2003)". IMDB. Retrieved July 25, 2014.
- "The Missing (2003)". Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved July 25, 2014.
- Phillip French (February 28, 2004). "New lessons from the Old West". The Observer. Retrieved July 25, 2014.
- Michael Wilmington (November 24, 2003). "Movie review: 'The Missing'". Chicago Tribune. Retrieved July 25, 2014.
- Phil Konstantin (September 2004). "Phil Konstantin's Review of The Missing". AmericanIndian.net. Retrieved July 25, 2014.