Combustible Celluloid Review - Missing (2023), Will Merrick, Nick Johnson, Will Merrick, Nick Johnson, Storm Reid, Joaquim de Almeida, Ken Leung, Amy Landecker, Daniel Henney, Nia Long, Megan Suri
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With: Storm Reid, Joaquim de Almeida, Ken Leung, Amy Landecker, Daniel Henney, Nia Long, Megan Suri
Written by: Will Merrick, Nick Johnson
Directed by: Will Merrick, Nick Johnson
MPAA Rating: PG-13 for some strong violence, language, teen drinking, and thematic material
Running Time: 111
Date: 01/20/2023

Missing (2023)

3 Stars (out of 4)

Crime Screen

By Jeffrey M. Anderson

Taking place entirely on computer screens and video monitors, this thriller builds a clever, frantic, and emotional mystery, even if it finds itself stretched a bit too thin as it reaches its climax.

June (Storm Reid) is a petulant teen who is currently clashing with her controlling mother, Grace (Nia Long), partly over her mother's new relationship with Kevin (Ken Leung). Grace and Kevin depart for a romantic getaway to Colombia, and June throws a wild party for her friends. But when she goes to the airport to pick them up, they are nowhere to be found.

Using nothing but her computer, she desperately launches into detective mode, even managing to hire a Colombian helper, Javier (Joaquim de Almeida), to do the legwork for her. But just when she seems to hit a wall, she discovers a strange new clue, unveiling an even stranger mystery.

Like its spiritual predecessor, Searching, with whom it shares only its motif, Missing is a mystery for the modern age, with its eighteen-year-old hero clicking from web browsers to notepads to FaceTime, while hacking email accounts and hiring out-of-country help, all at lightning speed. (Even Sherlock Holmes's head would spin.)

Co-writers and directors Will Merrick and Nick Johnson — co-editors on Searching — establish an exciting pace, as well as an exciting protagonist in Storm Reid's June, and all her quick-clicks tickle our brains.

The filmmakers admirably attempt to tackle the serious business of domestic abuse, but when their narrative leaves the computer screen and switches to security camera monitors, Missing begins to stumble a little, although it comes back with a satisfying snap of a solution. Only in retrospect do things begin to fall apart under scrutiny, but it's still a perfectly satisfying viewing experience.

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