A Glitch-free Watch
Netflix’s new thriller release Missing does not prepare you for what’s coming.
Netflix’s new thriller release Missing does not prepare you for what’s coming. What starts off as a young girl’s search for her missing mother, unexpectedly takes a sinister turn. June Allen (Storm Reid) is 18, and in a love-hate relationship with her widowed parent. She can’t believe that she is being left alone at home on Father’s Day so her mother can enjoy a vacation in Colombia with her boyfriend. But, when the two don’t return to Los Angeles when they were supposed to, June launches a quest to find her—from her desktop.
A standalone sequel to the 2018 film, Searching, this too unfolds from behind various devices—computers, phones, etc. The world on the other side of the screen unravels, authenticating the many fears about the web. June’s ability to find her mother’s whereabouts, and see the CCTV footage of her vacation, makes one question the access to information about ourselves we willingly or unknowingly provide online. A film that can easily be mistaken for a young-adult feast, soon starts to get darker.
Along the course of the almost two-hour ride, it slowly morphs into a warning-of-sorts, providing glimpses of the endless possibilities of inhabiting the virtual realm. Not all, however, is gory in the big, bad world of the internet. There is a real treat in the form of a friendship that develops between June and an old, Colombian gentleman hired to do small tasks through an app. The warm portrayal provides a much-needed break from the intense chase.
The glaring presence of technology in the film is used so smartly that it becomes a constant subtle presence, but never gets overwhelming. Directors Will Merrick and Nick Johnson, who edited Searching, manage to play with the simple ‘reaction button’ to messages, to define an entire relationship. Is it a slight of our emotions being on the surface? Maybe it’s intentional or maybe it’s not, but it does add to the thrill of the watch.
Missing is nothing you anticipate from its blurb. It’s edgy and intelligent. Never once does it exaggerate or inflate its sense of storytelling, and finds newer ways to elevate the watching experience. Somewhere, in the midst of this thrilling joy ride, is a commitment to tell a story with social responsibility, and that comes through successfully.
Director: Will Merrick, Nick Johnson