Rating: R for strong language and violence
Run Time: 1 hour, 35 minutes
Outstanding performances by veterans Robert Redford and Helen Mirren are at the core of this spare and disturbing psychological thriller.
kidnap drama fashion, the FBI is called in to take up residence at the Hayes’
The demand is for uncut diamonds and cash, but at this point the film’s technique wrestles control from the story. Shot from both Wayne’s and Eileen’s points of view, it gradually dawns that the dual narratives aren’t running in parallel time. This clever approach confounds yet forces the gray matter to stand up and take notice.
Loss of control equals tension, and The Clearing is saturated with it. Wayne, a man who inspires confidence, flatters his keeper into revealing more than he should. Eileen keeps a stiff upper lip while the feds dig deep into her marriage and toss through the couple’s dirty laundry.
Golden God Redford is aging along with the rest of us; he’s more than just a pretty face and proves it with an electric and pragmatic performance. Mirren is pure elegant veneer, maintaining tight control of her surface emotions while subtly betraying anxiety and the fissures of a decades-old union.
The mood is atmospheric and the pace occasionally falters, but this is mature and thought-provoking work.