Director: Will Merrick, Nick Johnson
Cast: Storm Reid, Joaquim de Almeida, Ken Leung, Amy Landecker, Daniel Henney, Nia Long
Runtime: 1 hr 52 mins
Rating: PG13 (Some Violence)
Released By: Sony Pictures
Opening Day: 2 March 2023
Synopsis: From the minds behind Searching comes Missing, a thrilling roller-coaster mystery that makes you wonder how well you know those closest to you. When her mother (Nia Long) disappears while on vacation in Colombia with her new boyfriend, June’s (Storm Reid) search for answers is hindered by international red tape. Stuck thousands of miles away in Los Angeles, June creatively uses all the latest technology at her fingertips to try and find her before it’s too late. But as she digs deeper, her digital sleuthing raises more questions than answers...and when June unravels secrets about her mom, she discovers that she never really knew her at all.
As you are reading this review, your online activity is probably being tracked. Is it something you should be concerned about? Probably not, unless you are involved in some bad deeds like the shady characters in this thriller. Because if you are up to no good, what you do on the worldwide web (that includes something seemingly inconsequential like reading this review), may form part of the evidence to bring about your downfall.
That does sound scary, but keep in mind that this movie directed by Will Merrick and Nick Johnson is a piece of entertainment that has a purpose to deliver thrills, so logic may be exaggerated so that viewers can be kept at the edge of their seats to keep guessing who the ultimate baddie is.
The protagonist of the story by Sev Ohanian and Aneesh Chaganty is June (Storm Reid), a teenager is on a frantic search for her mother (Nia Long) who has gone missing after going for a vacation in Colombia with her new boyfriend (Ken Leung). Some back story: June's father died from brain tumour when she was very young, and like most teenagers, she occasionally shuts her mother off. It probably doesn't help that her mother seems to have fallen head over heels for the new guy in her life.
Back in 2018, we were blown away by Searching, Chaganty’s feature debut starring John Cho and Debra Messing. Presented as a screenlife movie, the whodunit is shown from the views of smartphones and computer. screens. Merrick and Johnson, the duo who edited the movie, take on directing duties in this anthology sequel that tells the story using the same concept.
June uses all the technology she can lay her hands on to investigate, and that includes using Google maps and Internet searches. It also involves, gasp, hacking into email accounts and shopping sites. The story was probably written in such a way that the protagonist can coincidentally derive passwords. Moral of the tale? Create strong passwords that are unique and hard to guess. Anyway, the story does stretch itself a bit too much, but while you scoff at its outrageousness, you can't help but feel a little uneasy that it is possible in real life that your intimate chats on a dating app might be seen or someone else.
The highly engaging movie is not short of twists, and you try your best to keep up with the sequence of events.You also try to make sense of the plot development as new characters are thrown into the mix. There is the gig worker (Joaquim de Almeida) who helps June run from location to location in Colombia to search for clues, the FBI agent (Daniel Hennes who repeatedly advises June not to take things into her own hands), and her mother’s friend, a divorce lawyer (Amy Landecker) who seems to be a little too infatuated with the new guy. Every detail may be a clue, and you do not want to take your eyes off the cinema screen – until you realise computer and mobile screens are probably no stranger in your life anyway.
(Highly engaging, this screenlife thriller delivers the thrills and makes you a little worried whether your secret online chats will be seen by unintended parties)
Review by John Li