by Charles Kirkland Jr.
A teen-aged daughter is desperately searching for her mother who has mysteriously disappeared on a trip to another country in the cyber-thriller, Missing.
June (Storm Reid) is a typical teenage girl. She lives in the world of social media. She is doing reasonably well in school and the relationship she has with her mother is loving but strained. It doesn’t help that she has planned a vacation with her current boyfriend over the weekend of Father’s Day which has always been a special time of remembrance for the loss of her dad. Of course, while her mother Grace (Nia Long) is away, June parties hard. So hard that she is late arriving at the airport to pick up her mother. When she does get there, her mother never arrives. Suddenly, June is frantic. Whether she has to use the FBI, her friends, or the internet, June has to find her mother.
The screenplay for Missing is written by Nicholas D. Johnson and Will Merrick from a story by Aneesh Chaganty. The movie stars Nia Long, Storm Reid Amy Landecker, Ken Leung, Joaquim de Alemeida, and Daniel Henney. Johnson and Merrick also direct the film.
In 2018, Johnson and Merrick created a film called Searching. In the movie, John Cho stars as a father whose daughter disappears, and tries to find her by using his daughter’s laptop. This film is a companion piece to that film, a near cousin if you will. Storm Reid’s character utilizes her computer skills to do a lot of the “searching” that she does for her mother. After all, why mess with a formula that works? Searching was an incredible film and has a reasonably successful following. The question is can lightning strike twice?
Yes and no.
Missing is a smart thriller. The movie shows that there is an incredible amount of power in the internet if applied correctly (although not altogether legally). For those who are true suspense fans, the twist in this film is almost unbelievably devious and yet incredibly logical. The third act contains a serious edge-of-your-seat quality that is just deliciously crafted.
However, there are a couple of big plot holes that beg viewers to suspend reality for more than a moment. Out of respect for the film’s plot twist, the only plot hole mentioned here is that June is 18. She is a little old to be as petty toward her single mother as she is. While it plays for the movie, it comes across a little unrealistic in its reality.
On the bright side, Joaquim de Almeida’s plays Javi, a cheap, Colombian, Task Rabbit-style worker who is somewhat reluctantly drawn into June’s frantic search. Javi’s character is a perfect parallel story to the one portrayed through our heroine but his love and humor are an absolute gem toward the ultimate development of the story.
January is typically a month that is designated for the dregs of the movie industry. While there are a couple of prestige movies that are released during this time, there usually is not anything that demands an audience to get to the theater. In short, this movie bucks the trend. It has no reason to be released at this time of year. It is way too good and way too much fun to roll out during a cold dreary winter season.
Rated PG for some strong violence, language, teen drinking, and thematic material, Missing, with a runtime of 111 minutes, is a taut and entertaining copy of a stylish thriller that makes you value the world and, believe it or not, the internet.
Missing is in theaters on January 20, 2023.