The film focuses on two Sioux brothers living on the Pine Ridge Indian reservation - one of the largest pieces of land granted by the government for "re-settlement" of Native American tribes. Rudy (Eric Schweig) is the local arm of the reservation's law enforcement and spends the better part of his night shifts rounding up drunken Indians and breaking up domestic disputes on the reservation. His brother Mogie (Graham Greene, looking like a beached whale) is one of the reservation's infamous drunks, due in part to a stint in Vietnam and the typical, abusive father.
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As a good ol' damsels-in-distress Western with picturesque frontier vistas, a handful of Winchester rifle shootouts and enough character conflict to keep the long horse rides interesting, Ron Howard's "The Missing" is reliable, if over-earnest, matinee fodder.
Unfortunately, the director has his eye on the Oscar, and the strain he puts on a perfectly serviceable story in an attempt to ratchet up the prestige factor makes the movie seem awfully pretentious for a kidnap-and-rescue sagebrush saga.
The always riveting Cate Blanchett perfectly embodies the stamina, bravery and grit of an 1885 frontier woman as Maggie Gilkeson, a widowed mom who has suffered a hard life both with and without husbands and lovers. She has passed on that strength and tenacity to her two daughters -- teenaged beauty Lilly (Evan Rachel Wood), snatched by a gang of Indian guides who have rebelled against the deceitful Army, and stubborn, tough young Dot (Jenna Boyd) who steadfastly refuses to be left behind when a pursuit is mounted. ("I won't stay behind," she wails with powerful determination in the picture's most memorable moment. "Wherever you put me, I'll follow you. You know I will!")
Continue reading: The Missing Review