|as a bold attempt to move with the times as the original missing persons hunt of Searching is updated for more modern technology
|Nicholas D Johnson, Will Merrick
|Nia Long, Storm Reid, Tim Griffin, Amy Landecker, Ava Lee, Daniel Henney, Joaquim De Almeida, Ken Leung, Megan Suri
|21st April 2023
WHAT’S IT ABOUT?
June (Storm Reid) lost her father to cancer as a young girl. In her teens, she doesn’t get on with her Mum, Grace (Nia Long), and she likes her Grace’s new boyfriend Kevin (Ken Leung) even less.
When Grace and Kevin are away on a short trip to Colombia, June hosts a raucous party and almost doesn’t get up in time to collect them from the airport the next day.
Against all the odds, she makes it to the airport. But they don’t. She waits. And worries. And gives up.
Back home, armed with only her laptop and her phone, she alerts the police, calls her Mum’s best friend, hacks into Kevin’s emails to trace his digital activity and finds an investigator in Colombia who can search on the ground for her.
Far more resourceful than the authorities – if a little morally questionable, June sets out to discover the truth behind her mother’s disappearance, with nothing but technology to help her.
WHAT’S IT LIKE?
It’s five years since Aneesh Chaganty brought us the thoroughly original thriller Searching, in which John Cho carries out his own online hunt for his missing daughter – and in those five years, technology has moved on.
This time round, Chaganty is writing and producing as the editors of the earlier film, Nicholas Johnson and Will Merrick, take on directing duties, and they have more toys to play with this time. As viewers themselves have become more reliant on technology and gadgets, they’re also more savvy about the possibilities, but that makes them harder to surprise or impress.
And while June’s resourcefulness almost knows no bounds, the fact that she realises she needs someone on the ground in Colombia gives her hunt just a little comforting sense of realism.
One problem with showing what can be discovered through June’s resourcefulness is that it can tutor those of dubious morals in the art of hacking and cyber-stalking – but the flip-side is that it also warns potential victims of the holes in their own internet security, to help them lock the hackers out.
Searching felt so fresh that it’s hard to make this feel as original, not least because while technology has moved on in the meantime, the pandemic also resulted in other films being structured around computer screens and the claustrophobia of staying in the same room.
This time round, the search is breezy and exciting but as the truth starts to emerge, the narrative feels less convincing and the format is harder to maintain.
While there’s much to enjoy and think about, there’s something missing from Missing – whether it’s the sparkling originality of its predecessor or the coherence of the plot.