Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Review: Missing (2009)

Missing (Review)
Kim Sung-hong/Moon Sung-geun/2009
Where to Watch:
Netflix Streaming
Amazon Prime

"...ultimately works well as a thriller."

Hyeon-jeong (Choo Ja-hyun) begins to search for her sister, Hyeon-a (Jeon Se-Hong), after she goes missing in a rural countryside village...

Missing begins with a short home video of Hyeon-jeong and Hyeon-a being friendly. Immediately afterward, Hyeon-a is in the middle of an argument with her sister as she runs off with a director. Then, she gets kidnapped by an old man named Pan-gon (Moon Sung-geun). Pan-gon tortures Hyeon-a while Hyeon-jeong frantically searches for her sister. That's about it. Although I liked how the third act played out, it is on the contrived and cliché side. The ending is chilling, though.

I think the biggest problem with Missing is that it doesn't have enough character. All we have to identify the sisters' relationship is the short 30-second video in the beginning and a phone call. In fact, we see more of a relationship between Hyeon-a and Pan-gon than anyone else. This makes the film much less effective than it could've been -- it just never connects with the audience on an emotional level.

However, Missing does work as a standard crime thriller. Like I said, it's missing the emotional connection, but it has some great suspense and some very grizzly scenes. Some of the scenes of torture are cringe-worthy. The suspense and tension also helps create an engaging film. It's not the pinnacle of suspense, but it helps. That's really the best way to describe, though: standard. It passes as an entertaining thriller, but doesn't bother to excel, despite the many opportunities.

Choo Ja-hyun is great; I think she delivers a powerful performance with amazing conviction. Moon Sung-geun also plays his role perfectly -- he makes his character sinister. The film looks and sounds good, too; the music was often poorly edited, though. The English subtitles on the Netflix Instant stream are good -- you'll understand the story, but there are some grammar and spelling errors. Director Kim Sung-hong does well in pulling great performances from the cast and conjuring some suspense and tension, but misses a grand opportunity to make an emotional connection with the audience.

Overall, I think Missing is a good film. It is somewhat disappointing due to the lack of buildup and character, but it ultimately works well as a thriller. The story is familiar but engaging, there is some cringe-worthy violence, and the ending is haunting. If you don't mind revisiting familiar territory or simply want to kill an hour and a half, this is for you.

Score: 6/10
Parental Guide: Graphic violence and blood, sex and nudity.

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