Excellently acted, full to the brim with twists and with good use of it's technology technique, Missing is an extremely competent thriller.
BY BECCA JOHNSON APRIL 26, 2023
Directed by Will Merrick and Nicholas D. Johnson and starring Storm Reid, Kevin Leung and Nia Long, Missing is a new tech-inspired thriller from the creators of 2018's Searching. This time around, we follow teenager June, who's life is turned upside down when her Mother goes missing on vacation with her boyfriend. Stuck thousands of miles away and hindered by international red tape, June uses all the technology available to try and find her Mother before it's too late.
Movies set entirely on a computer screen are not exactly new come 2023, but they're still fun and exciting; Missing is no exception. It utilises June's screen to it's maximum potential, showing us the many different ways we can find what we need on the internet. Facebook, Gmail, debit card history and CCTV – it's all included, and despite straining a touch of credibility, it all works. The horror of discovering what we can find out about people by the touch of a button only adds to the thrilling element of the movie, giving us something to chew on and think about when we come away. Whether it's a blessing or a curse is up to the viewer, but for main character June, it's all she has.
For Missing to work, it has to have an engaging plot, as there's only so far the technology theme can take us. Luckily, it does. Missing is full of twists, turns and reveals; just when you think you've figured out where things are going, it turns out you were wrong. It keeps you on your toes from beginning to end, and viewers will undoubtedly enjoying trying to see what they can spot and piecing the mystery together. By us seeing exactly what June sees, we may spot things she doesn't in that moment, which makes it all the more exciting. It's very fast-paced and rarely slows down throughout it's brisk 100 minute run-time. It has us doubting everything and everyone, which is key to the success of a mystery thriller. The story isn't quite as seamless as Searching (2018), and the final act may be a little too far-fetched, but it's undeniably entertaining and most won't see it coming. Go in as blind as possible – even the trailer spoils too much.
Storm Reid's terrific lead performance as June is what puts the icing on the cake. She is incredibly believable and puts in her most emotional turn yet. Left all on her own and seeming like the only person who's actively trying to find her Mother, it's very easy to empathise with her and feel terrified thinking about how you'd feel in her shoes. Joaquim de Almeida (Fast Five) is another standout, who gives the movie some much-needed heart and lightness. He steals every scene he is in, playing a memorable and enjoyable character. Good performances are also delivered by Nia Long and Ken Leung. The whole team did a great job at pulling things off, from solid direction from Johnson and Merrick, intelligent writing from Sev Ohanian and Searching director Aneesh Chaganty, to clever editing by Austin Keeling and Arielle Zakowski. It's a team effort, everyone shows talent.
Missing is almost as good as it's sister project Searching, utilising similar techniques to a very high level. It's slightly far-fetched in places, particularly it's final moments, and it's credibility can occasionally be questioned in terms of it's technology use, but these points don't even come close to hindering enjoyment. It's a fast-paced, twisty and exciting thriller, with one of the best performances of the year thus far from Storm Reid and a particularly memorable story-line. We might have a few of this style of movie by now, but if they're up to this standard, bring on more!