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The Clearing (2004)

Robert Redford, The Clearing | REDFORD (FOREGROUND) AND DAFOE
Image credit: The Clearing: Lorey Sebastian
REDFORD (FOREGROUND) AND DAFOE

Details Limited Release: Jul 02, 2004; Rated: R; Length: 91 Minutes; Genres: Drama, Mystery and Thriller; With: Willem Dafoe, Helen Mirren and Robert Redford; Distributor: Fox Searchlight Pictures

A laid-off employee (Willem Dafoe) is so desperately embittered that he kidnaps wildly successful CEO Wayne Hayes (Robert Redford) of his old corporation as payback. The tactic is definitely not one of the seven habits of highly successful people. But Dafoe thinks the emotional thriller, by first-time director and longtime producer Peter Jan Brugge (''The Insider''), exposes the myth of the American Dream. ''We're told if you pursue your dream with tenacity, it will happen,'' says Dafoe. ''Quite frankly, that's bulls--- and it depresses a lot of people. If you don't have what you dream about, it's your fault. [My character] Arnold represents a whole class of disappointed people whose rage is wrapped up in their guilt of failing.''

Redford is certainly an appropriate actor to play the heralded businessman. (Helen Mirren plays his agonizing wife.) ''In some ways, [Redford] is Wayne,'' says Dafoe. ''He's a self-made man. Not only is he a movie star, but he's built a whole way of being, with the Sundance Institute and his political activity.'' Here's hoping this movie doesn't give anyone ideas: Just in case, perhaps Redford should watch out for shifty-eyed Sundance rejects carrying chloroform.

THE GOOD NEWS Thankfully, the movies are still employing talented veteran actors like Redford, Dafoe, and Mirren.

THE BAD NEWS It didn't spark much talk after premiering at this year's Sundance, where Redford's the boss!

Originally posted Apr 21, 2004 Published in issue #762-763 Apr 30, 2004 Order article reprints
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