At one time considered the most important and influential genre,
Westerns, especially good ones, have now become a veritable
obscurity in the world of film. So when a notable gunslinger film
comes along, it deserves all the recognition it receives. Enter
“The Missing.” One of Ron Howard’s darkest
projects, this film has many of the old genre qualities with
enumerable novel nuances.

Similar to John Ford’s unforgettable “The
Searchers,” “The Missing” chronicles the journey
of Jones (Tommy Lee Jones) and his estranged daughter Maggie (Cate
Blanchett) as they search for her kidnapped daughter. Laden with
pathos and filmed in classic Hollywood style, it’s as good as
any the genre has seen in a long time.

The new DVD package, however, is a more hit-or-miss experience.
Complete with the requisite digital sound and picture quality, it
is noticeably devoid of any commentary tracks. Two of the main
features — outtakes and deleted scenes — are neither
funny nor informative, and it’s understadable why is was
absent from the final cut.

The latest rage for DVDs seems to be short, behind-the-scenes
featurettes. This set continues the trend with six of these, two of
which are unnecessarily boring. Having them all in one combined
feature would have been the smarter, less cumbersome thing to

The last two features — Howard’s commentary on
various Western history films and his home movies — deem the
rest almost forgivable. They are both neat and entertaining, giving
the audience an insight into the director formerly known as

Film: 4 out of 5 stars.

Picture/Sound: 4 out of 5 stars.

Features: 2.5 out of 5 stars.

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