Missing (Blu-ray)

After her mother goes missing, a young woman tries to find her from home, using tools available to her online.

March 28, 2023 7 Min Read

Review by: Matt Brighton and Matt Malouf

Plot: What’s it about?

Taking a cue from Searching from a few years ago, this sort-of-sequel has the same basic format while (obviously) changing the central mystery a bit. This time it is up to a young girl to try and find out what happened to her mother who’s gone missing. While it has some effective moments, ultimately it left me a bit cold. Searching, I found to work for me and make me care and want to play along, this one, however, falls flat. There’s just enough on display here to make it somewhat engaging, even if it runs out of energy before the finish line.

We learn in the early moments of the film that June (Storm Reid) lost her father to cancer at an early age. This allows she and her mother, Grace (Nia Long) to relocate to L.A., after leaving San Antonio. Now, 18, June wishes her mother wouldn’t have such a tight grip on her and not worry so much. Be that as it may, she is taking a trip with her new boyfriend, Kevin (Ken Leung) to Colombia for a little getaway. This doesn’t mean she won’t be doing her best to keep her eyes on June while they’re away. The trouble arises when June goes to pick them up from the airport, only to find that they are not there. This is obvious reason for concern, and so begins June’s search to find out what happened. Those familiar with Searching will know how the entire film plays out. Unlike a traditional thriller, this one is shown entirely on an iPhone screen or other mobile and digital devices. It can be a fun, if very gimmicky tactic. And therein lies my problem. What I felt worked before, simply doesn’t work as well here. With Searching, it really had me invested in the central mystery and I was trying hard to figure it out. In fact, the only detractor from my initial experience was a young boy with his mother narrating the entire film and trying to figure out what happened. Spoiler alert: he was wrong more often than he was right.

That isn’t to say that Missing is a total bust. It isn’t. In fact, I’d say it is still worth seeing with adjusted expectations. I just don’t think this one is nearly as good as it could or should have been. The last half gets a bit silly, and I simply wasn’t as involved here as I had hoped. I haven’t revealed much of what happens as that would spoil some of the fun. Unfortunately, things become just a bit too convoluted for their own good. The film is certainly easy to relate to in the way we use (or overuse) technology and are consumed by what we put out there. That helps our central character try and solve the case. If more films of this sort are to be made (and we can most certainly expect them to be) then I just hope, they work on the execution.

Video: How’s it look?

Those familiar with Searching and its unique look will be treated to more of the same. In what seems to be (or might be) a new trend, the majority of this movie takes place from a POV standpoint. It’s quite interesting, though I’m sure we’ll eventually get to the point where the novelty has worn off. Think of it as the new “found footage” genre. That said, the images, particularly of the web pages and apps, is crystal clear. The 1.78:1 AVC HD image has wisely been used to fill the entire screen which, I feel, brings the viewer into the movie. I think it’d be a bit annoying with black bars at the top and bottom. It’s a more intimate experience, to be sure. Of note, the entire film isn’t set up in this manner, there are several shots out in the “real world.” Colors are bold, text and images are crisp and contrast seems spot on. It’s a unique look and feel to a very unique film.

Audio: How’s it sound?

I believe we’re all at the point where we can easily identify a ringtone, message sound or anything else that might be associated with a device we keep in our pocket (or desk) by now. If not, well, I don’t really know how to explain it. Having said that, the DTS HD Master Audio track doesn’t have many points in which it’s challenged. The majority of the film is dialogue-driven, though there are some montages of web pages/news reports that do fill the atmosphere with some overlapping dialogue. It’s a good, well-rounded track, but again nothing jaw-dropping.

Supplements: What are the extras?

  • Deleted Scenes – Four total, though as we might expect – none really add a lot to the overall plot.
  • Featurettes – Three shorter vingnettes that shed a little light on the making of the film as well as some interviews with the cast and crew.
    • The Screens That Rule Our Lives – We get a look as to how this effect was achieved.
    • Misdirects, Online Crimes And The Social Media Mystery of Missing – Essentially a glorified trailer, but with some interesting tidbits.
    • Storm Reid And The Challenge Of Missing – Interviews with cast and crew are included.
  • Hunting For The Missing Easter Eggs – We get a look at background details and connections to Searching.
  • Audio Commentary – Producer Natalie Qasabian and writers/directors Will Merrick and Nick Johnson collaborate for a pretty well-informed track. It’s nothing mind-blowing, but if you’re a fan of the film – you could do a lot worse.

The Bottom Line

Missing has just enough going for it to give a mild recommendation even if it runs out of steam long before the end credits roll. I’d say if you enjoyed Searching, and don’t mind that style of film then you should enjoy this one. Mostly.

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