The Clearing

Synopsis: Wayne and Eileen Hayes live the American Dream. Together they've raised two children and struggled to build a successful business from the ground up. But there have been sacrifices along the way. When Wayne is kidnapped by an ordinary man, Arnold Mack, and held for ransom in a remote forest, the couple's world is turned inside out. Eileen finds her home full of FBI agents, their life under scrutiny. While Wayne is engaged in the negotiation of his lifetime, Eileen works frantically with the FBI to secure his release. The terrifying ordeal causes Wayne and Eileen to reassess their marriage and come to a deeper sense of their commitment to each other. With each passing hour, the need and desire for Wayne to return home safely becomes ever more urgent.
Director(s): Pieter Jan Brugge
Production: Fox Searchlight Pictures
  1 nomination.
Rotten Tomatoes:
95 min

Excuse me, honey.

- Cologne?

- I better get going.

...61 degrees downtown.

In Harrisburg, the governor has given...

Remember we have the

Finches tonight.

- You sleep okay?

- Yeah, fine.

Why are we having the Finches?

We haven't seen them in ages, and I think

we should make an effort with Eva.

- Is there an occasion or...

- No, no occasion.

He used to be your

good friend. You know?

Yeah. Are you gonna

speak to Jill today?

No, I spoke with her yesterday.

Why? You worried about her?

Should I be?

Well, why don't you

give her a call?

I think I'll give her a

call this afternoon.

Well, that's a good idea.

She likes her job?

Yes, she seems to.

She wouldn't tell me if she didn't.

No, but that's only because you've made

your opinion on the matter so clear.


Okay, you hound.

Hey. Come on.

Come on, hey.

Come on. Attaboy, attaboy, come on.

No, not... Hey, that's cruel.

Well, he's gotta learn how to swim.

It's how I taught the children.

You did not. Anyway,

I taught them to swim.

See you later.

Wayne, please don't be any

later than 6:
00, okay?

- 6:

- Yes, please.

Not active. Press the services button now.

Shut up.

...dashing optimism that profits

will soon show signs of rebounding.

Dow Jones Industrials were

down by a third of a percent,

a half percent decline

for the S&P 500.

Near 2.5 percent lower

for the NASDAQ.

Graciela, that's beautiful.

Thank you.

Hi. Wayne's late.

Can you believe it?

- Hi.

- What's he doing?

- He's working.

- Why the hell is he doing that?

What else is new?

Tom, can you make us drinks?

Yes, and I want that good Scotch.

I'd like to speak with Wayne

Hayes. This is his wife.

One moment, please.

I'm afraid he's not at his desk.

Well, is he gone for the day?

I'm afraid I don't know,

Mrs. Hayes.

I'd like to speak with

Alex Rice, please.

One moment, please.

He's gone for the day.

Would you like his voice mail?

No, no message, thank you.

Please leave a message.

Well, I hope you're on your way.

- As usual, you've spoiled us.

- Yes, Eileen.

Everything was

absolutely delicious.

It was nothing.

I didn't do anything.

If this isn't doing

anything, well...

You should be so lucky, Tom.

Well, I'm so sorry

Wayne couldn't be here.

That's all right.

He never liked us.

What is your emergency?

Yes, hello?

I need to report a missing person.

- Hello?

- This is Detective Seymour.

There was no sign of break in.

Doors were locked, alarm was set.

Can you think of a reason

why he'd be parked there?


Did he know anyone

in the neighborhood?

No, not that I'm aware of.

Was he under any

particular kind of stress?

No, I don't think so.

What's your husband's height?

- He's 6'.

- Weight?

About 175, 180 pounds.

- Eyes?

- Blue.

Blond hair.



How's the baby?

He's still such a bad sleeper.

I wonder how he's gonna

get on in the world.

He'll be a grown man

living with his mother.

Your next one will be better.

I think you get one of each.

No, we're not gonna

have a next one.

He's in our bed every night.

Oh, I'd love to see them.

Do you think they could come out?


We'll see.

So tell me more about

what the police said.

Well, it was questions mostly.

They wanted to know if anything

had been bothering him recently.

Apparently, people

wander off all the time.

They said that?

They said they were going

to check the river.

No, that's not Dad.




- Yeah?

- Hi, Wayne.

- Hi.

- I don't know if you remember me.

Arnold? Arnold Mack from Hadley.

That was a long time ago.

Yeah, it sure was. I'm

supposed to show this to you.

What the hell are you doing?

If you make a noise I'll shoot.

Give me the keys.

Your hands.

Behind your back!

Legs out. Let's have your shoes.

Now, tell your wife

you're all right.

Am I?


This is Wayne.

Eileen, I'm fine.


The possibility that they're watching

the house, we have to take seriously.

We'll set up surveillance

and stay with you until

the situation is resolved.

They've instructed you to confirm

receipt of the keys in a personal ad.

It's a common mode

of communication.

We'd obviously like to

get them on the phone.

So we'll monitor all calls in the event

that we're successful in doing that.

I understand that our presence

here is an imposition on you.

But I need to ask all of you to try

to be as open with us as you can be.

So if Mr. Hayes mentioned anything,

something on his mind,

something bothering him, any

information that you can give us,

the better off we are.

I want to assure you that our

first priority is Mr. Hayes' safety.

In a situation like this, lack of

control can be the hardest part.

We're here to get you back

some of that control.


Where have you been?

- Talking to Lane.

- How is she?

We spent most of the time discussing

the color of what's in Oscar's diapers.

I hope the FBI found

it interesting.

How's Mom?

She's okay.

I think she thought he left her.

- She tell you that?

- No.

Of course not.

He would never do that.

Why not?

Because he'd be lost without her.

He might think about it,

but he'd never do it.

Most kidnappings in this

country are small in scale.

Usually over disagreements

about drugs.

They usually work themselves out.

Someone pays the bill and on they go.

A high-profile case is

a different matter...

We're free.

We'll be on our way in five

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Justin Haythe

Justin Haythe (born September 16, 1973) is an American novelist, short story writer, and screenwriter. He worked on the 2013 action films Snitch and The Lone Ranger, as well as the 2017 horror film A Cure for Wellness. Haythe lives in New York City, United States. more…

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Submitted on August 05, 2018

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