Mixed or average reviews - based on 34 Critics What's this?

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Generally favorable reviews- based on 28 Ratings

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  • Starring: , ,
  • Summary: The story of a parallel emotional struggle between the victim of a kidnapping and the family that is left behind. (Fox Searchlight Pictures)
Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 20 out of 34
  2. Negative: 0 out of 34
  1. The very best thrillers -- a select group to which The Clearing clearly belongs -- exploit subconscious fears that bubble up at vulnerable moments.
  2. The Clearing reminds us what a riveting presence he (Redford) can be.
  3. 75
    The pleasures of this endeavor, directed with a keen eye for detail by Pieter Jan Brugge, come from what the actors bring to the material.
  4. Classy but ultimately unsatisfying film.
  5. 60
    This anti-thriller radiates dread rather than suspense; it delivers creeping apprehension rather than adrenaline-pumping kicks, and the uniformly strong and finely calibrated performances more than compensate for the absence of technical razzle-dazzle.
  6. Reviewed by: Glenn Kenny
    Wants to be at any given moment--wrenching, thought-provoking, surprising, heartbreaking--all it ever is is tastefully lifeless. It’s been beaten into a coma by its own scruples.
  7. 40
    A thriller stripped of thrills--or, even worse, a thriller that thinks of itself as somehow rising above the vulgar pleasures of excitement.

See all 34 Critic Reviews

Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 11 out of 16
  2. Negative: 2 out of 16
  1. JW
    May 28, 2006
    (7.5) These films come along every so often - the ones teaming two or three of our best actors - and you feel compelled to watch them just to see if it works. Sometimes it doesn't. Sometimes it really doesn't. What we get in The Clearing, however, is a movie that quite impressively showcases not only the actors, but the effect that acting itself has on the quality of a film in general. Why this one succeeds so obviously where others have failed may be due to the fact that there's not much to the plot itself, or maybe it's that the three featured players are just that good. It's probably both. Either way, it's something to see Redford, Mirren, and Dafoe paint on what is essentially a blank canvas. As in Midnight Cowboy, the performances outlast the story. Expand
  2. GrahamM.
    Dec 7, 2005
    This is really a good film. This was done well, has an interesting story, and the actors preform well.
  3. Nov 22, 2010
    In this Crime Thriller, Helen Mirren gives us an engaging performance where it seems as though she's not the center of attention, although trying to be. With a simple plot of kidnapping a husband that has more money than his pockets can hold, holding him for ransom. The film is short to what I would expect for a thriller. The husband is found logging all the way out to the woods while his wife is at home with the FBI waiting for a phone call. It's almost as if you would have to skip to some scenes with only the intro and the end being the most suspensful and entertaining to watch. As the story unfolds, the tension stays the same. Most of the movie is carried through dialogue and the musical score, which there's nothing interesting about that. Helen Mirren doesn't seem to fit for the role, especially for an "okay" plot and short film overall. Expand

See all 16 User Reviews