Published on January 17th, 2023 | by Michael Newman0
Missing Is a Taught Thriller That Tracks The Dangers In Cyberspace
I remember when the very first Blair Witch project movie came out. How all these people were going around saying it was real “found footage”, and the success of that movie kicked off the whole “found footage” genre, which would expand to the home camera scene, in movies such as Paranormal Experience. In 2014, a new dimension would be added in movies such as Unfriended, where everything takes place entirely in front of the computer screen. The question would be whether Missing would be just another take on this formula or bring something entirely new to the table?
Of course, we’re getting ahead of ourselves just a little, so let’s rewind a bit. Missing, a film written and directed by Will Merrick and Nick Johnson, tells the story of June Allen (Storm Reid), a young woman whose mother Grace (Nia Long) and current boyfriend Kevin (Ken Leung) disappeared while on a vacation in Bogotá Colombia. Desperate to find answers, she contacts the hotel where they were staying, only to discover (with the help of google translate) that the two had not retrieved their luggage and had not been seen at the hotel for over a day. With only 72 hours to recover the surveillance video before it’s overwritten, she reaches out to the American consulate and an unlikely ally to unravel the mystery before it’s too late.
Utilizing the apps, we all know and love, from Task Rabbit to Apple, June utilizes every app and website as the blossoming Nancy Drew tracks their every move and step, uncovering a trove of secrets along the way. Does her mother really know who her boyfriend is, for that matter does June really know who anyone is?
Missing is a movie that certainly failed to market itself to the manner it needed to be. The previews look like a carbon copy (or a screen capture maybe) of movies that have come before it. It shares the premise, but lacked the hook that I feel would truly bring audiences in. I mean how interesting can a movie about a girl using her computer all day long be. Well as it turns out, an excellent one. Missing features more twists and turns than Space Mountain at Disney, and just when you think you know where it’s going, it switches on you. It’s a movie that truly benefits from no spoilers, because spoilers will ruin the entire experience.
The movie is helped by its outstanding cast. Storm Reid is a superstar in the making, and her believable and thoughtful portrayal of June helps ease over some of electronic coincidences that come along the way. That isn’t to say this movie takes large leaps over bottomless chasms, on the contrary it utilizes its premise in the best possible way, it’s just that Storm Reid is so believable, you’ll think everything she does is possible.
Storm is surrounded by an outstanding supporting cast. While Storm commands the most screen time by far, the superior acting by Ken Leung (Star Wars the Force Awakens, Old), Nia Long (Boyz N the Hood, Big Momma’s House), and our particular favorite Joaquim de Almeida (Behind Enemy Lines, Fast 5) keep the movie moving until it comes to it unexpected conclusion. I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention all the actual companies/brands and their associated applications as well. Typically, product placement is something we all bemoan when we see it on the screen, but in this case, it only adds to the realism. While I think they certainly could have done the movie using fake apps, and made-up brands, I don’t believe it’d have all the same impact. I mean who doesn’t pretend to be a super detective when googling and Ex, or a CIA operative using reverse lookup on a phone number you don’t recognize?
Missing is an extremely enjoyable tour through cyberspace, where someone in the know can track your every movement. It’s a thrilling, and mostly terrifying look at how much of our life is broadcast for all the world to see. While in this case, our cyber-sleuth is doing all of this for her family, it makes you consider what an expert hacker could do in their same shoes.
4.5 out of 5 stars