Missing is a mystery from Japan that weaves together elements of a father-daughter story and serial killer thriller. Santoshi (Jiro Sato, 2015’s Death Note) is depressed and in debt following the death of his wife. After seeing a reward notice, he informs his daughter he has seen a notorious serial killer and will capture him. Kaeda (Aoi Ito) does not take her father seriously. But when suddenly disappears, she fears the worst and begins looking for him.
This is a character driven drama that focuses primarily on three characters. Santoshi is despondent and seems to have lost all connection with the world. He pays little attention to anything that is going on around him, leading to some awkward situations. This forces Kaeda to grow up quickly. Not only does she have to deal with the loss of her mother, she also must handle a father who she is losing touch with. Where her father seems to have given up on life to deal with his grief, Kaeda has thrown herself into her studies.
The third part of Missing’s triptych is the serial killer No Name. He tries to justify his brutality by telling his victims he is doing them a favor. It will be up to the viewer to decide whether this is true or not, but it does add another layer. Another theme director Shinzo Katayama explores is the inhumanity of people. This is more obvious with No Name, but it also takes places on a more innocent level with Santoshi and Kaeda. This helps the story going beyond its more suspenseful aspects.
That being said, it is a very capable thriller. Filled with shocking revelations and strong storytelling, the film will keep audiences engaged. The perspective is always changing making sure things stay fresh. Missing moves at a patient pace, but peppers in some cleverly placed twists. The movie introduces an interesting moral question that separates it from similar stories.
Missing comes to On Demand November 18
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