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.
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.