The Clearing

Rated 3.0 Robert Redford is handed one of his best characters in years in this dark love story masquerading as a kidnap-hostage thriller. A beaten-down man (Willem Dafoe, excellent as always) takes a businessman (Redford) hostage. As the two men walk deep into a forest, Dafoe reveals his humdrum life, and Redford humbly pleads for his release. In what seems to be a parallel story, the businessman’s wife (Helen Mirren, in a great performance) negotiates for his release and takes inventory of their marriage. The hostage drama is far from routine, and the performances keep things interesting despite some lulls in the pacing. This film is further proof that Dafoe is one of our greater actors, and Redford is still capable of superior work.