Missing: Missing Logic, Gaining Fun

Storm Reid in Screen Gems MISSING

Somebody once said that ?the internet never forgets?. In Missing, that memory proves helpful for once.

Missing tells thes tory of June (Storm Reid), a teenager who?s still grieving the loss of her father from almost 10 years ago. Now that her mother (Nia Long) has found a new love, June is struggling to come to grips with the fact that their family is finally moving on. However, after her mother and new boyfriend disappear while on vacation in Colombia, June is forced to use the latest technology to scan, stream and search for clues regarding their whereabouts. In the process though, she discovers secrets that her mother has been hiding that makes her question whether she really even knows her at all.

Storm Reid in Screen Gems MISSING

Directed by Nicholas D. Johnson and Will Merrick,?Missing?follows in the footsteps of the latest trend of narratives told through social networking. Like it?s production cousin, 2018?s?Searching,?Missing?is fueled by endless text messages, FaceTime calls and google searches as the plot unfolds before our eyes. And, actually, it often works. Despite its gimmicky premise, Merrick and Johnson do a good job of keeping the film moving at a frenetic pace. This is a film that doesn?t want you to sit and wait for the story to come to you. Instead, Merrick and Johnson keep your eyes glued to the screen by keeping June?s eyes glued to hers.?Coming at a time when we live by the pings on our cell phone, the world of Missing feels absolutely familiar and (mostly) relatable.

Admittedly, if you?ve never seen this style of storytelling before, it almost sounds silly. (After all, how could a fury of text messaging be interesting on the big screen?) But, I have to admit,?Missing?is a tonne of fun. What the film does exceptionally well is exploit the small dramas that we experience every day in an online world. The flashing dots that appear when waiting for a response. The feeling of disconnection we experience when we don?t get an instant reply. The dangers of online gossip. All of these micro moments of our lives are points of tension and?Missing?is able to effectively translate them into visual moments onscreen. No, this isn?t exactly?Rear Window. But it?s a smaller window into the way we interact in the modern world.?

Storm Reid and Megan Sure in Screen Gems MISSING

It?s almost strange to say that Reid?s performance works because so much of it is in the same space. Even so, she does a good job of making her character feel real, especially for a generation that has grown up in a world where online communication is the norm. (I know I?m dating myself here but even Sandra Bullock?s character from The Net would be overwhelmed in a world of live streams, email hacking and cyber profiles.) As unbelievable as the film may be, Reid feels believable in the role.

And unbelievable is also a good way to describe the film.

Like all great mysteries, Missing has some massive twists and turns to its story. Without giving any spoilers, what begins with a simple case of a missing person spirals into numerous unexpected directions. This sort of storytelling often makes for compelling thrillers but it doesn?t always make for the most logical of leaps. As such, while Missing undoubtedly brings the fun, it doesn?t always make a ton of sense.

Nia Long in Screen Gems MISSING

But, then again, neither does our online world.

What?s interesting is that Missing never judges technology for its every-watching eye. In fact, it?s because of the power of the internet that June is able to embark on her quest in the first place. What it does show though is that our world is always watching. Whether it?s for our benefit or detriment, the internet never forgets. Missing is a story that serves as a reminder that, no matter how well we know people, everyone has secrets about who they really are that can be discovered online. (So, it may make you want to scrub your browser history as well.)

Admittedly though, Missing isn?t really concerned with making any particularly grand argument about technology or any other social ill. Instead, the film feels like a theme part ride. Energetic and often effective, Missing wants you to feel the thrill of the twists you didn?t see coming and the fun of the adventure, even if it doesn?t always make sense how you got there.

Missing is available in theatres on Friday, January 20th, 2023.

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