What has happened to January? Every year, January is the dumping ground for the garbage movies, but something has changed. This month so far there have been three movies that were absolute fire: M3GAN, Plane and now Missing. That is great and it is awesome that I can go to a theater in January without expecting the film I am going to see end up on the worst film of the year list.
A few years ago, there was a fantastic movie called Searching which starred John Cho as a father whose daughter had disappeared and he used social media and her online presence to find her before it was too late. The idea to that film is very similar to Missing, except that this time the missing person was the mother and her daughter was on the computer using her intelligence and online skills to map out the mystery. The people behind Searching are the same involved in Missing.
I think this story in Missing is stronger than the one in Searching. There are some twists happening in the film and they legitimately were keeping me off balance. There were some times that I thought I knew what was going on, but then something flipped and changed my idea. Now, to be fair, because of that, I am not 100% sure that everything fell neatly into place at the end. I would almost like to see it again to see how it played when I was aware of the ending.
The actor playing the daughter, June, was Storm Reid, and I thought she brought it, big time. She handled the difficult scenes and she was able to create tension and emotion while searching though Facebook and hacking into e-mails. Not the easiest of jobs and Reid did it beautifully. I think she has a bright future in movies as her performance here was a highlight for me.
I also loved the character of Javi, played by film veteran Joaquim de Almeida. Javi got involved through a clever idea from June and their relationship over Face Time was one of the best and most supportive of the film. It goes to show that there are good people in the world who will help do what is right.
I loved seeing Ken Leung, who played Kevin. Leung appeared on the last few seasons of LOST as Miles and made me fall in love with him as a performer.
Beside the performances, the story structure was remarkable. I have not felt a story being this active and engaging in a long time, and most of the film was spent clicking on links on the computer or searching through old files for ideas. The script was just so intelligent and clever that it did not fail to be filled with suspense and to push the mystery of the film along. Part of the intelligence of the film was showing how bright June was in finding pathways to clues among the internet and putting her ideas into motion.
As I mentioned, I am not sure everything really links up perfectly at the end, but I did not feel the need to retrace every step of the movie to try and find the gotcha moment. I do believe that if I wanted to nitpick the film, there may be some places where I could.
Do you have to stretch your suspension of disbelief? Sure, but I do not think it has to stretch more than, say, believing Lois Lane can’t tell Clark Kent is Superman because he put on some glasses and combed his hair differently. The implausibility of Missing does not hurt the film at all.
I loved this movie and I was invested in it from the beginning. I love character that are smart and can execute that intelligence effectively and Storm Reid does that in spades.
This is a rare film that could be a Top 10 best film of the year that came out in January. It is my early year favorite movie as of now.