After a few months delay, Missing finally arrives in UK cinemas this week, from the team behind one of my favourite movies of 2018, Searching. In Searching we followed a single dad, played by John Cho, as he desperately searched online for his missing daughter. In Missing those roles are reversed as a daughter uses her tech skills in order to track down her missing mother. The movie utilises the same creative storytelling process as before, watching everything unfold on the apps and browsers of computer or mobile screens, with the occasional CCTV camera thrown in, and the end result manages to be almost as enjoyable as its predecessor.
Grace (Nia Long) is heading off to Colombia for a holiday with new boyfriend Kevin (Ken Leung), leaving daughter June (Storm Reid) with instructions to pick them both up from the airport when they return. We get a glimpse at just how much of a multitasking whizz June is as she zips between apps on her computer, arranging the obligatory party to make the most of mum being out of the picture. And she almost misses the scheduled pickup time, arriving just in time and setting up her phone to capture their arrival (and for our benefit too). Only Grace and Kevin don’t show up and it’s up to Grace to start unravelling the mystery of what’s happened to them.
A call to their hotel in Colombia isn’t a good start, with the reception desk only speaking Spanish, but June proves to be extremely resourceful. Using Google maps to navigate the city and enlisting the services of a local errand runner named Javi (Joaquim de Almeida) whom she hires via a Taskrabbit website. By utilising Javi on the ground, June continues to investigate online and feed back to him with further instructions as she gains access to email accounts and begins piecing information together.
If you’re of a certain age and have ever marvelled at the sight of a tech-savvy teenager doing a million and one things all at the same time on their phone, then prepare to have you mind blown. At times during Missing, particularly during the party organisation and related social media posting, the movie zips along at breath-taking speed. I guess I felt a little more aligned to the middle-aged dad from Searching in his approach to technological sleuthing, but thankfully not all of this is like that.
What I loved about Searching is definitely present in Missing – the creativity and the innovative ways of utilising technology to progress the story are outstanding. There are also plenty of twists and turns to keep you guessing and propel the story forward, although maybe one or two too many, and the emotional resonance I felt with Searching wasn’t entirely present here either. But, that’s certainly nothing to do with the incredible performance by Storm Reid and, once again, probably more to do with me just being a middle-aged dad.
Web developer by day, with a movie and TV watchlist that continues to grow as much as my spare time reduces! My favourite movie is Inception and, despite what everyone says, I do not have a man-crush on Tom Cruise.