Subtitle Blitz #18: The Clearing (2004)

I love working on these kinds of movies. Mellow, thoughtful, contemplative, and full of long, silent bits and actors enunciating properly. Easy. Uncomplicated.

Kinda boring.

That said, it’s Robert Redford, and Helen Mirren, and Willem Dafoe, and Matt Craven, and I could think of a far worse way to spend 90 minutes (and it involves a hammer and each of my fingers.) Anyway, it’s about a modestly successful exec (Redford) who’s kidnapped one morning in his driveway by a disgruntled ex-employee (Dafoe) and marched through the woods towards some mysterious cabin, where his fate awaits. Meanwhile, his wife (Mirren) and her grown kids hole up at home with a couple of FBI guys (headed by Matt Craven) and deal with the other end of the equation–the ransom demands and the hand-wringing (of which there’s surprisingly little.) But the movie is awkwardly plotted, and it’s written in an oblique style that somehow led me to guess the big twist– that Matt Craven and his FBI helpers were actually the accomplices in the kidnapping plot, and that they somehow intercepted the 911 call. Man, how brilliant. So Very clever.

But so very wrong. That’s not how it plays out at all. In fact, it’s rather mundane. But I held onto that twist idea and tacked it to my creative wall fo future use. Don’t steal it, or I’m coming over with my hammer.

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