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Missing ★★★

A Thrilling Kidnap Saga or Just an Apple Ad in Disguise?



Directors: Nicholas D. Johnson, Will Merrick

Cast: Nia Long, Storm Reid

Release date: 21st April 2023

Missing is Aneesh Chaganty’s sequel to the well-received Searching, released in 2018. There was some initially really engaging cinematography in the way that Missing is filmed and displayed through tesselating screen-view shots of Facetime, screengrabs, ring cams, and voice calls. I liked the plot twists and was pleased with some well-crafted misdirection. It was fast-paced, and in the first 30 minutes, there is a genuine sense of mystery and intrigue.

It quickly gets old, though, and starts feeling more jarring, a bit of the tail wagging the dog where form overtook content.

The plot thins out towards the middle and ends with some really confusing ‘Wha..? / why don’t you escape through the window? / is there really a two-way mic attached to this secret hidden camera?’ moments that took me out of the story, and then all of sudden, the film just kind of ends.

Euphoria’s Storm Reid was a convincing stroppy teenage lead as June, and I loved seeing a cast that wasn’t full of white people. Agent Park, played by Daniel Henney, was a lovely presence, though I was sceptical that a federal agent would share as much information about the progress of a missing persons case with a teenager over the phone as he did in the film. TaskRabbit sidekick Javier, played by Joaquim de Almeida, was likeable as a bumbling but kind-hearted boomer using the app to make a few quid. Unfortunately, Javier’s side story about his relationship with his son felt really forced and disingenuous.

The story becomes increasingly far-fetched, and the massively corporate-flavoured native content marketing presence of Apple and the heroics of Siri gave me the ick.

It’s cool to see the cyber-thriller format being experimented with, and the variety of apps and interfaces brought a lot of energy to the story. In the end, I was left wondering if the mystery would have been solved quicker with Android.

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