Onto the next release of the weekend and with not many theatrical releases this weekend, I decided to watch one of the two pending theatrical releases from last week. With that I finished watching the new English film Missing which is a standalone sequel to the 2018 sleeper hit Searching.
I remember watching Searching in a theatre in its opening weekend in India and the turnout wasn’t great. Back then, I did have a habit of watching every single film in a theatre as the OTT platforms wern’t very prevalent then. And I was amazed so much so that I remember giving the film 5 out of 5 stars. This is because I hadn’t previously experienced such a narrative with the entire film unfolding on a desktop screen. And to top it, the execution was spot on with the mystery staying intact till the very last minute. Post its success, there have been many such films made including the admirable Malayalam film C U Soon. So when the second part of Searching, Missing was out I just had to watch it. And I almost had missed it, only to just about make it in its second week of its theatrical run. So then is Missing worth your time, stay tuned.
Story & Screenplay
Missing is a standalone sequel of Searching and it follows the story of a daughter investigating the disappearance of her mother and her boyfriend. The story is in a similar mould of Searching and it is most definitely nail-biting and thrilling right throughout. The runtime of a shade under 2 hours does make for a brisk narrative wherein you need to be supremely attentive to link all the clues together.
First things first! Since 2018, technology has also progressed in the next 5 years. And because this film did have a technology background to it, I really was keen on how that would translate onscreen. And there definitely has been an upgrade here, although the core technology does remain the same. Mind you, technology is a prime character in the film and it is showcased really well! The film does have a quick 15 minute setup before kickstarting the actual mystery. Another word of caution being that do not miss any minute of the film and try staying as attentive as you can as the clues are spread across in all directions.
The proceedings are fast-paced, thrilling and nail-biting in every sense of the word. The drama does run about in every possible direction and kudos to the makers for controlling the narrative and not allowing it to go berserk and out of control. There are multiple twists and turns that will leave you gasping for breath, as the drama keeps getting murkier by the minute. Some of the twists are so unexpected and unpredictable that they will catch you off-guard. But the underlying question is whether Missing is better than or at par with Searching. The answer is no!
The differentiating factor between Searching and Missing was that the former had its mystery intact right until the last minute. But in Missing, the mystery does unravel atleast 15 minues before the end credits roll when the cat is out of the bag. I kind of did feel slightly underwhelmed by its final act wherein things wern’t as layered as the rest of the film. It just did feel too simplistic and convenient although the writers did seem to be very self aware of this fact. In a scene, the protagonist finishes watching the Netflix episode on her life and claims, ‘Who Watches This Garbage?’. The humour being absolutely spot on right throughout(in smaller portions and quantities, almost used as a filler). Overall, the screenplay here is thrill-a-minute stuff, absolutely managing to keep you at the edge of your seats!
Dialogues, Music & Direction
Missing does have a few more lines as compared to Searching but here the conversations do feel organic and something that does compliment the technology angle! The BGM is pulsating and adds to the urgency of the drama. The cinematography is absolutely top notch and realistic. By the latter I do mean the attention which is paid to the detailing here. You do have buffering videos, grainy screens and a splash of applications all depicting a Mac-screen through which the drama does unfold. The director’s chair is shared by two individuals – Will Merrick and Nicholas D Johnson and the direction is magnificent here. The execution needed to be spot on here as any error would have rambling ramifications, and boy was it spot on! At no point did I feel that the makers were not in control of the proceedings. I was thoroughly invested throughout and for that the directors deserve distinction marks!
The performances are excellent and I will be keeping the names of characters under wraps to avoid any spoilers. Megan Suri and Amy Landeckar have their moments to shine. Nia Long is fabulous to watch. Ken Leung is really good in a character that will keep you guessing. Joaquim De Almeida is sincere and earnest and really affable. Tim Griffin is exceptional. Storm Reid is outstanding and does full justice to her character.
Missing is nail biting thriller with brilliant twists and turns which shall keep you invested throughout. Available in a theatre near you and Highly Recommended!