Sunday, July 2, 2023


Movie Name:
Year of Release: 2023
Director: Nicholas D. Johnson, Will Merrick
Starring: Storm Reid, Nia Long, Tim Griffin, Joaquim de Almeida, Ken Leung, Amy Landecker, Megan Suri, Daniel Henney, Lauren B. Mosley, Lisa Yamada
Genre: Drama, Mystery, Thriller
Score out of ten (whole numbers only): 6
Watch it on Amazon

Synopsis and Review
"Missing" is the feature directorial debut for Nicholas D. Johnson and Will Merrick, both possessed of a noticeable career as editors, with Merrick as well having directed a few shorts. They both edited Aneesh Chaganty's "Searching", who was produced by the same team who is behind this feature, with "Missing" being a sequel to "Chaganty's film. The narrative focuses on the story of a young woman by the name of June, who just turned 18 and lives with her mom in the LA area. June's father died of brain tumor when she was little, and she has become her mom's constant focus. Her mom Grace is about to leave for a vacation with her boyfriend Kevin, the first actual relationship she has had in years. June in the meantime is being left under the care of Heather, her mom's friend who is a divorce lawyer. A week goes by and June goes to pick up Grace and Kevin at the airport, and much to her surprise they don't show up. She communicates with the American consulate in Colombia, but they're unable to help her much. She decides to use the digital tools she has at her disposal and investigate what is happening. She hires Javier, a Colombian gig worker to do some investigation on the ground. She manages to crack the password to Kevin's gmail account, and discovers a number of aliases he has been using. She also uncovers the fact that he has a criminal record, all of which related to scamming women for money. The more she investigates, including the dating app where her mother met Kevin, she soon realizes her mother was aware of his past. However, June soon realizes there's more to this story, and that the woman who was on the flight to Colombia may not have been her mother after all.
"Missing", much like "Searching", invites the audience to witness the central character of the narrative frantically trying to locate someone. The film, much like some of the B-movies of the 1940s and 50s, provides little exposition on who these characters are to begin with, focusing instead on setting up the apparently impossible situation, and how ingenuity, persistence and intelligence ultimately uncover venues in which the characters manage to escape from dangerous situations. This film transposes this type of economical narrative perspective to modern times, placing the young June at the center of a digital investigation, made that much more challenging since her mother is abroad. The film smartly creates a sense of claustrophobia and timeliness, by placing June solely in her room, and her mother potentially running out of time. And while June and Grace are never given much in terms of who they are, there's enough breadcrumbs of information that are provided, which allow for a revealing picture of who they are to come across. It's a suspenseful film that while not as dynamic and enticing as a Hitchcock work, still manages to capture one's attention with multiple twists and turns. The cast is uniformly solid, with highlights going to Storm Reid, Tim Griffin and Nia Long. The production team is solid, including Steven Holleran's cinematography, Kelly Fallon's production design and Julian Scherle's score. Entertaining and worth watching.