January 12, 2023

GENRE | 'Searching' for a 'Missing' Person on Screen(s)

"I'm not giving up on my mom."
Storm Reid Nick Johnson Will Merrick | Missing
Stage 6 Films / Screen Gems
From the same creative team behind the sharp 2018 "screenlife" mystery thriller Searching comes a standalone sequel, the appropriately titled Missing. Written and directed by Nick Johnson and Will Merrick, editors of the first film, the follow-up stars Storm Reid as a teenager left alone trying to find her missing mother (Nia Long) after she fails to return from a Colombian vacation with her shady new boyfriend (Ken Leung).

In one of the more clever nods, Reid's June is watching a fictional Netflix series called "Unfiction" that adapts the first film's story in a fun poke at our obsession with true crime mysteries. However, where Searching was a relatively focused and emotional narrative, Missing goes bigger and spans a larger, much more preposterously nefarious story in scope while crossing borders and multiple law enforcement agencies.

Produced by Sev Ohanian and Aneesh Chaganty, who co-wrote Searching and the story here, there are just far too many twists, turns, and leaps in logic. When the actual motivations for the central disappearance are revealed, it makes everything you saw before seem much dumber. There is no real satisfying explanation for what happens and the villain(s) are severely underdeveloped considering their perfectly planned crimes and unclear end goals.

What makes the inherently gimmicky film suffer despite an A+ performance by Storm and, once again, some high-level editing of technology on screen is so many characters being introduced and then subsequently being shown to be entirely different without any context for the audience. I also found a few too many contrivances introduced clunkily for only the purposes of paying off at a precise moment of usefulness later on.

Missing's first half is mostly a lot of sophisticated thriller fun commenting on the true crime genre's influence on culture from the point-of-view of a savvy zoomer. When things get cooking towards the climatic third act, so many logic-defying beats descend into a non-sensical series of truly baffling series of events more in line with cheap horror tricks that betrays the tight missing person drama it starts off as.

More | YVArcade / Indiewire / Slashfilm

0 reactions:

Post a Comment