Fantastic Fest Review: Missing

Everyone deals with grief in their own way. Some people disappear into their own heads, withdrawing from life and shutting everyone out. Others look for ways to deaden the pain, whether that’s through alcohol, drug abuse or something else. The loss of a loved one can drive a wedge between a family, which makes sitting down and talking openly extremely difficult. This is the case for one family in Missing.

After the death of her mother, Kaede (Aoi Itô) has thrown herself into her studies. Her father (Jiro Sato), on the other hand, has let himself go. While the bills begin to stack up, he has started to make up increasingly unlikely tales to cover-up his destructive behaviour. The latest is that he’s seen ‘No Name’ (Hiroya Shimizu), a notorious serial killer who is being hunted by the authorities. She doesn’t believe a word of it, but when he suddenly goes missing the teenager is determined to uncover the truth.

Missing is an enthralling and engaging hunt for a killer which excels thanks to a brilliant performance from Itô and great pacing from director Shinzô Katayama. The story follows a winding path, shifting the focus between characters to help move the narrative forward. This affords it a much greater depth and, alongside clever cinematography, helps reel the audience in. Missing takes an unusual approach to its subject matter but one which really pays off.

Missing screens at Fantastic Fest. Dark Star and Bloody Disgusting plan a US theatrical release on 4 November, an On Demand release on 18 November, and the Blu Ray release for the film to follow on 6 December.

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