Director: Tsui Hark
Cast: Angelica Lee Sinje, Isabella Leong,
Tony Leung Ka Fai, Chang Chen, Guo Xiao Dong, Chang Cheng
RunTime: 1 hr 57 mins
Released By: Cathay-Keris Films & InnoForm
Official Website: http://www.missingthemovie.com/
Opening Day: 12 June 2008
starts off as an idyllic love story turns horribly sour.
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.
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.
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...
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.
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.
Helen believes Dave’s remains have been swept by the
currents to nearby Turtle Island, Taiwan.
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
the pieces of Dave’s disappearance emerge, the truth
slips further and further away...
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.
Rant (Long Review)
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.
missing is a good direction)
by Richard Lim Jr