starring Tommy Lee Jones, Cate Blanchett, Evan Rachel Wood, Jenna Boyd
screenplay by Ken Kaufman, based on the novel The Last Ride by Thomas Edison
directed by Ron Howard
by Walter Chaw Probably best described as Ron Howard's The Searchers, the really quite awful The Missing (the first clue is a James Horner score) and its tale of bad Indians vs. sacrificial Indians vs. white settlers unfolds during a frontier period that, the last time Howard dabbled, unleashed Far and Away. With Horner's help, Howard proves with The Missing that there's no source material too bleak (not schizophrenia, not reality television, not space mishaps) for him to shine his dimwitted, beatific smile upon. He transforms Thomas Eidson's bleak frontier western (The Last Ride) into a curious sort of faux-feminist uplift melodrama ("Mildred Pierce, Medicine Woman"), demonstrating, along the way, that he has no idea what issues he's raising, much less any idea how to honour them.