Review by Amanda Gilmore for Mr. Will Wong
Missing is a mystery with the right amount of twists to keep you on the edge of your seat.
12 years ago, June’s (Storm Reid) father died. It’s just been her and her mother Grace (Nia Long) ever since. Well, until now. Grace has met and fallen for Kevin (Ken Leung), who’s planned a romantic trip to Colombia for the two of them. June is supposed to pick them up at the airport on Monday. The day arrives when June’s mom and new boyfriend don’t show up. Feeling that the the US Embassy in Colombia isn’t taking her mother’s disappearance seriously enough, June takes matters into her own hands.
Missing comes from a story by the team behind 2018’s Searching. Fans of that hit will find a similar premise here. But this time around, the roles are switched. It’s a teenager using her laptop to help find her parent. Although Aneesh Chaganty and Sev Ohanian (Searching Screenwriters) have created this story, the Film is written and directed by a different team. Co-Writer/Directors Nicholas D. Johnson and Will Merrick have taken the story and created a thrilling mystery that will leave you guessing till the finale.
They’ve achieved the impossible, just like with Searching, to keep an audience enthralled watching a story told through a laptop screen. However, this time we get an extended lens. We see this mystery play out across multiple technological cameras. We have the laptop screen, a smart watch and — without giving too much away — security cameras. This allows the mystery so expand beyond the limits of June’s computer screen. Therefore, allowing the audience to move beyond the screen.
That being said, the amount of information June is able to attain through her laptop is immense. Even if some of the information she finds feels a bit unrealistic, and more for storytelling convenience. Such as Grace and Kevin sending a vast amount video messages to each other, which give us clues to their backstories, rather than simply video chatting. The Filmmakers expose how much information we give away in our online presences. Additionally, it shows how advanced our technology has come and how it can aide in finding someones whereabouts. We can watch city live cams, our phones do live photos, hacking apps and more. All of which these Filmmakers use to help our protagonist in her search for her mom.
June is nearly in every frame of this film. What she sees is what we see. The Film could fall apart if weren’t for Reid‘s perfect casting. Her talent and charisma shine in this Computer Screen Thriller. The audience is locked into this exciting ride because of her compelling performance. At times you forget this is a film because it feels so real. This is due to Reid’s performance and the inventive way this story is told.
Sony Pictures Canada release MISSING in theatres Friday, January 20, 2023.