Missing Review

Missing takes a premise used by a few other directors like Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu, Paul Haggis, and Paul Thomas Anderson and takes it to another level. This film has three distinct storylines within its two-hour runtime. It’s definitely one of the stranger films you’ll see this year but it’s very entertaining once it picks up. It’s Japanese cinema at its best.

Kaede (Aoi Ito) is a young school-age girl after the death of her mother due to complications of ALS, Lou Gehrig’s Disease, She has to look after her father who hasn’t taken it very well. He’s drunk all the time and gets caught stealing. Once she gets him home for the night she falls asleep and when she wakes up he’s nowhere to be found. So she gets a boy who likes her, and a neighbor lady to help her look for him. There is more than she bargained for though, involved in his disappearance.

This film has three distinct stories though with three main characters and few supporting characters that follow along with the three storylines. A crippled girl, a police detective, and an old man all play into this wild and wacky movie. Just when you think it can’t get any wild or wacky it does. These stories go in some crazy directions but they all end up trying into one another at the end of the film. When it all comes together it’s pretty cathartic.

Even though this film is a Japanese film it has English subtitles. The subtitles are very good in this film. Some films have subtitles that are hard to read because of how they’re presented but they are very easy to see and read in this movie. Along with the subtitles, the director creates a very easy narrative for viewers to follow along with. It’s not a difficult foreign film to watch. People who may not watch these types of films should seek this one out.

The director Shinzo Katayama and his writers have created a movie with a lot of moving parts. All of these storylines have to tie together perfectly and they do just that. The cast works very well with each other and until this film ended I had no idea where it was going to go. The intricacies of the plot worked perfectly off of one another from the previous storylines. The first storyline left no indication of where this film was going to go. I loved that aspect of the film. If these storylines didn’t work it would have fallen apart. Thank God it did fall apart. 

The cast of this movie was a bit odd including the three main characters. If these actors didn’t take these characters seriously it would have been a big mess. It would have been too campy and comedic and it’s not that kind of movie. I liked Ito a lot but we didn’t get enough of her for my liking. The actor I really fell in love with was Jiro Sato as her father Harada. The other main character, played by Hiroya Shimizu, was fine. I just couldn’t get behind his arch as much.

Missing was an enjoyable film. It has three revolving storylines that were interconnected to one another. The director and writers crafted a plot that worked perfectly with all the movie’s main characters. The actors who played these characters were very good with Ito and Sato being the standouts. This was par for the course though for Japanese films. They just create some great ways to tell stories that are fun. This is just that despite its serious subject matter. 

4 stars 

Dan Skip Allen

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