MISSING Reviews of 2021 Japanese mystery thriller



Missing is a 2021 Japanese mystery thriller about a young girl searching for her father who may have been kidnapped by a serial killer.

Directed by Shinzô Katayama (Siblings of the Cape) from a screenplay co-written with Kazuhisa Kotera and Ryô Takada.

The Asmik Ace production stars Aoi Itô, Jirô Satô, Hiroya Shimizu, Misato Morita, Shotaro Ishii, Izumi Matsuoka, Tôko Narushima and Tôru Shinagawa.

Plot synopsis:
Depressed and in debt following the death of his wife, Santoshi tells his young daughter he has found a way out. Pointing to a reward note, he vows to find the infamous serial killer “No Name” claiming to have seen him in the flesh a few days earlier. Kaeda cannot believe her aloof, goofy father. But when he goes missing without a trace, she begins to fear the worst and must start the search for him…


“This is a bleak film and it might be too much for some. Yet if you love movies that explore the bonds between fathers and daughters, as well as man’s inhumanity, it’s worth your time.” B&S About Movies

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.” Backseat Mafia

“Shinzo Katayama’s direction is meticulous and sometimes sassy in the way he presents us with unexpected and absurd situations. This is not that surprising because, although Missing is only his second film, Katayama was the assistant director in Bong Joon-ho’s Mother, learning from the best to merge the absurd with the humane. The editing is another highlight…” Buffed Film Buffs

Missing is packed with so many twists and turns, M. Night would climax. While the tonal shifts were cute, the heavy-handed bits removed me from the mystery. Hey Siri, add Shinzo Katayama to the list of directors to watch!” CineDump

” …Missing is more like The Little Things, chock-full of interesting ideas that are poignant in the moment and far too hesitant in the aftermath […] There’s an interesting story in Kaede’s search for her father on his serial killer hunt and the revelations we receive do offer some heartrending thrills, yet the whole is nowhere as wretched or affecting as it wants to be.” 3 out of 5, Elements of Madness

“Director Shinzô Katayama’s debut at the helm — working from a screenplay that he cowrote with Kazuhisa Kotero and Ryô Takada — is a fine one. The characters are all well written and intriguingly portrayed, and the existential sense of dread is palpable. Expect the unexpected from Missing and you are still likely to come away surprised.” Horror Fuel

” …this is an accomplished piece of work, and brilliantly entertaining. There are some bravura set pieces, with a final scene that’s likely to go down as one of the year’s best. Though the pandemic has made cinema-going feel like a risky exercise, Missing begs to be experienced with an audience.” The Japan Times

“Kaede’s relationship with her father is established early on, but they could have shared a few more scenes before he disappears. While the ending itself is riveting and satisfying, Missing often lacks the right amount of suspense to make big moments more effective. Scenes are built up and executed in a way that is meant to elevate each new revelation, but there is a lack of urgency…” 3.5 stars out of 5, Screen Rant

The movie had its world premiere on October 8, 2021, at the Busan International Film Festival in Japan.
In the US, Missing will be released theatrically by Dark Star Pictures on November 4, 2022, and On-Demand (VOD) on November 18, 2022.

“Director Shinzô Katayama has beautifully crafted a story that will keep audiences on their toes,” Dark Star Pictures President, Michael Repsch commented.



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