By Kemar Noel
This review contains spoilers.
“Missing” is among the many movies to come out in the past several years that has aspects of social media and the internet as a driving force.
This film is directed by Nicholas D. Johnson and Will Merrick. It stars Tim Griffin, Ava Zaria Lee, Nia Long, Storm Reid, Amy Landecker and Ken Leung. The lead of the movie is Storm Reid, who plays 18-year-old June.
This movie went under my radar for a while and only had minimal advertising. Kicking off the year with a banger is hard to do when competing with films like “Puss in Boots” and “Avatar,” but they still tried their best.
I love films where teens are left on their own to solve a problem or conflict given to them, so this film was right up my alley. Unfortunately, the actors were given a mediocre story at best to follow throughout the movie.
The movie starts off with a scene from June’s past: a video made of June as a child with her dad, who has passed away. The video was edited and saved in a file for June to watch when she is older.
June’s mom is searching for a new start and chooses Los Angeles. I personally thought this was a great start for this movie. It didn’t show too much but made us wonder why she was moving so suddenly after the “death” of her husband. It added a sense of curiosity to the movie that made me excited about what would happen next, but I was very disappointed.
The movie was very predictable and lost its flare just as quickly as it got it. The exposition was filled with June spending her emergency funds to have fun and party when her mom and her boyfriend “Kevin,” were on a trip. It emphasized greatly how much she missed her father and how unappreciative she was of her mother, so she lost both.
June’s mother and Kevin go missing on the trip, which sends June into a spiral looking for them, learning and studying their last public appearance. June starts to uncover the truth about what really happened to her mother by password cracking into various social media accounts owned by the two.
She then goes through their social media accounts to find clues about their disappearance. This is how she eventually finds out that her mother never made it out of the country and her boyfriend staged the whole disappearance with another woman.
Secrets continue to unravel and the sloppy execution of the movie made it really easy to decipher who the “kidnapper” was halfway through the movie.
The guy who was in charge of Kevin’s rehabilitation group was mentioned once and never again. The leader of this group was also never shown unlike everyone else even though we heard his voice.
This made me skeptical and I was right to follow my instincts, because not only was he the one who kidnapped June’s mother, but he was also her father. The film ends with his death and June watching their story be retold in a Netflix show.
The film had a ton of early potential but failed to deliver. The film became predictable and boring halfway through, and by the end I was wondering where it went wrong.
The themes in this film are abundant and numerous. There is of course the first one: not everything you see online is real. June’s mom was easily fooled by some guy online who was dishonest with her enough that after he admitted to committing past felonies she should have stopped giving him the benefit of the doubt.
Another message was that passwords should be changed and alternate between different accounts.
It was way too easy for June to access Kevin’s account. It is shown multiple times that the internet, while sometimes secure, can also be very insecure if you don’t know what you are doing.
There are many other praiseworthy themes and messages scattered in the film like familial bonds and not opening the door to strangers.
It seems like the directors tried to include too many differnet things within the alloted time frame of the movie. There are too many characters, which hinders the audiences’ ability to better understand and relate to those characters. We know what the characters are doing, but not why they are doing it, and this is another major gripe I had with this movie.
This movie had some pretty decent actors who tried their best to make the movie great, but there is only so much you can do with a mediocre script.
While factoring in the overall thematic value and story of this film I rate “Missing” a solid 5 out of 10.