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  Publicity Stills of
(Courtesy from Cathay-Keris Films)

Genre: Mystery/Thriller
Director: Tsui Hark
Cast: Angelica Lee Sinje, Isabella Leong, Tony Leung Ka Fai, Chang Chen, Guo Xiao Dong, Chang Cheng Yue
RunTime: 1 hr 57 mins
Released By: Cathay-Keris Films & InnoForm Media
Rating: PG
Official Website: http://www.missingthemovie.com/

Opening Day: 12 June 2008


What starts off as an idyllic love story turns horribly sour.

Noted underwater photographer Dave Chen (played by Guo Xiao Dong) plans a romantic rendezvous. He’s taking his beloved Jing Gao (played by Lee Sinje) to the mysterious ancient ruins which are 10,000 years old. These ruins, located off Yonaguni Island, at the westernmost tip of Japan, are Dave’s passion, his life’s work.

Many years ago, Dave had hidden an engagement ring there, vowing to return someday to propose to the woman of his dreams. His dream comes true. He’s about to propose to Jing Gao underwater in the mysterious ruins.

Dave’s sister, Helen (played by Isabella), a neighbour and friend of Jing Gao’s is present to share their happy moment. But instead, she implores her brother to reconsider, to wait...

Undeterred, Dave dives into the ruins after Jing Gao...Just then, a freak accident befalls him; he disappears without a trace. Shortly afterwards, a decapitated corpse of a man is found. His identity – inconclusive despite DNA matching.

Dave’s disappearance unleashes a train of events...Heartbroken and shattered, Jing Gao rapidly spirals off into another world, haunted by phantoms, apparitions and the eerie appearance of a glass numbered 1016. In desperation she turns to Simon and at his suggestion resorts to some unusually extreme means to find Dave.

Meanwhile, Helen believes Dave’s remains have been swept by the currents to nearby Turtle Island, Taiwan.

She searches for his remains there and discovers Helen’s camcorder and a head in the surrounding waters. Helen brings them back to Hong Kong. To her horror, the camcorder contains footage of that fatal dive. Jing Gao holds the key to Dave’s disappearance.

As the pieces of Dave’s disappearance emerge, the truth slips further and further away...

Movie Review:

The Point (Short Review)

Tsui Hark once again chew off more than he can swallow in this “directionless flick”. He seemly can’t decide if he wants to do horror, “Atlantis-ish” fable, romance or mysterious thriller. Because of his ambitious attempt, it made the most basic error in composition and further aggravated when the film attempts to test a viewer’s patience with its multiple endings. It also sacrifices the build up for romance which ironically was supposedly the main driving force of this film.

The Rant (Long Review)

There is a diving problem call nitrogen narcosis where at certain dept, beyond 30 meters, divers could lose their decision making ability, lose their focus and their judgment impaired. Watching “Missing”, I am betting that Tsui Hark must be suffering from nitrogen narcosis blues when he was working on this film.
First of all, the problem that I thought was basically Tsui Hark’s challenge to the other directors in "Triangle" had once again resurfaced here. Except this time round, he is the sole director in this flick and without the need to challenge other directors, it really make one wonder why is he taking on so many story elements at one go.

He bravely attempted to create ghostly horrors in the oceans but what surfaced were the difficulties of filming underwater. Then it’s back onto solid ground for some repetitive scary moments that we seen somewhere else before. (There's even a direct copy of The Eye’s infamous lift scene except its lot milder here)

While trying to capture the horror, this film also attempted to capture the majestic of the underwater world but end up looking like an amateur’s best effort and no where as awe inspiring as the recent documentary "Shark Waters".

Not succeeding in creating horror or capturing the grandeur were not the biggest mistakes here. Mr. Tsui had spend 3/4 of this film to establish what was thought to be a horror story but just when it was about to make sense, he basically switch movies and attempts to tell his underwater tragic fable story at the very last minute. While other skillful misdirection flicks had planted subtle clues through out the process to the twist (which made it enjoyable to retrace the journey once again), this one felt like it had wasted precious time and effort to follow the story at all.

Then it went on and on, in a last ditch effort to sell his tragic fable love story with plenty of twists but felt like a drag and a test of patience. There were a couple of times when I felt that it would be a good portion to end this movie but it just went on and on, out living Zhang Ziyi’s character in "House of Flying Daggers".

The last major bit that didn’t work for The Missing would be the romance that was played out. An important factor since it was kept essentially unchanged through out the movie and was the main driving force for the female protagonist. But the romance bit was introduced and created in a hazy fast manner (probably to give space to the major chunk of irrelevant material) that it was hardly believable. The male actor who played the love interest for the female protagonist was equally not the best of choices. He had very little screen time compared to the other actors and didn’t possess the screen charisma to make people believe that the female protagonist would pine for him so much during his absence. Since it’s the backbone of the whole film and if it’s not working out, the whole film just fall into pieces.

Movie Rating:

(What's missing is a good direction)

Review by Richard Lim Jr


. Shark Water (2007)

. Triangle (2007)

. The Haunted School (2007)

. Re-cycle (2006)

. Seven Swords (2005)


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