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Missing (2008)
"Sam hoi tsam yan" (original title)

 -  Drama | Fantasy | Horror  -  12 June 2008 (China)
4.9
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Ratings: 4.9/10 from 357 users  
Reviews: 7 user | 12 critic

After her husband is killed in a mysterious accident, a widow is haunted by images of things she has never seen or experienced.

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(as Tsui Hark)

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, (script revision)
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Title: Missing (2008)

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
Dr. Gao Jing (as Lee Sinje)
...
Chen Xiao Kai (as Isabella)
...
Simon (as Chang Chen)
Xiaodong Guo ...
Dave Chen Guo Dong (as Guo Xiao Dong)
...
Dr. Edward Tong
Chen-Yue Chang ...
Haiya Amu (as Chang Chen Yue)
Alice Lee ...
Bookstore keeper (as Luk-Yu Lee)
Julie Yip ...
Aida
Ngai-Pong Cheng ...
Funeral Parlor Staff (as Cheng Ngai Pong)
Cheuk Ming Poon ...
Old Funeral Parlor Staff (as Poon Cheuk Ming)
Yuk-Bing Woo ...
Uncle Chen (as Woo Yuk Bing)
Koon-Hung Lau ...
Uncle Chen's Colleague (as Lau Koon Hung)
Kin-Fat Lai ...
Noodle Ghost (as Lai Kin Fat)
Chi-Shun Hung ...
Noodle Restaurant Owner (as Hung Chi Shun)
Tam Kam Vico Fai ...
Noodle Restaurant Staff (as Tam Kam Fai)
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Storyline

In Hong Kong, Dr. Gao Jing is introduced to the brother of her best girlfriend Chen Xiao Kai, the photographer and diver Dave Chen Guo Dong. They fall in love with each other and Guo Dong invites Gao Jing to travel to Taiwan to visit an ancient submarine city, where he intends to propose her. During the dive, Guo Dong vanishes. Gao Jing cannot recall what happened underwater. She decides to investigate. Written by Claudio Carvalho, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

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Details

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Release Date:

12 June 2008 (China)  »

Also Known As:

Missing  »

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Budget:

$8,000,000 (estimated)
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Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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User Reviews

 
Reviewers Who Give This Film a 1/10 Are Going Way Too Far
17 October 2008 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

Angelica Lee and Isabella Leong investigate the enigmatic death of a loved one at sea in this film by Tsui Hark. The visuals and camera-work are excellent, with some cool sequences filmed underwater. (Seriously, the cinematography is exceptional.) The ghouls are very unusual and are "touched up" with some CGI. The storyline is very engaging, with multiple elements introduced to keep the viewer off balance. Some have criticized the film for being schizophrenic, but this method of storytelling is actually effective, interesting, and adds some unpredictability. The romantic elements are on the cheesy side, but this film simply does not deserve the abuse it has taken from online reviewers. It maintains interest from start to finish; and sometimes that's good enough.

I normally wouldn't bother writing a review for a film I rate a 6/10, but the sheer level of abuse this film has received from IMDb reviewers is surprising. "Missing" is so unpretentious and harmless that I question how someone in their right mind could hate the film to the degree of giving it a 1/10 rating. Then again, these are the same people who gave Jet Li's pretentious, over-dramatic fluff piece "The Warlords" (2007) a 10/10 (as well as Woo's pathetic "Red Cliff") – so maybe I'm expecting a little too much individuality when dealing with the bandwagon jumpers that infest IMDb. In all honesty, I find that the average ratings on this website have become almost completely useless.

After calling "Missing" a complete mess, one reviewer claimed that only those who liked "Diary" (2006) could buy into this movie. This was an obvious attempt to indirectly trash both films by drawing a parallel between two "convoluted" story lines with "copout" endings. One can only assume that this guy has no idea what he's talking about. "Diary" is a masterpiece of horror cinema that is on a level far higher than that of "Missing." The twists and turns in "Diary" are well-executed with little in terms of ambiguity; almost every single event is adequately explained. "Missing", on the other hand, includes a twist that tosses a good portion of the film into subjective interpretation. I say this in defense of "Diary" so that readers understand that the comparison is completely unwarranted and misguided.

I do find it ironic that overpraised directors like David Lynch can operate within a universe where virtually everything is tossed up to subjective interpretation, yet receive heaping amounts of praise for being original and innovative. How is this any different from what Tsui Hark does in "Missing"? Sure, the big twist that's revealed during the latter third of the film basically forces the viewer to interpret the preceding events in a symbolic light, but some of it does have very specific psychological meaning. That still leaves the final third of the film to operate within objective reality, which is far more than what Lynch provided in the abhorrent "Eraserhead." So what's the problem? "Missing" is not nearly as weird as "Eraserhead", but it sure makes a LOT more sense, yet it somehow is excluded from receiving credit for using ambiguity to provoke thought and introduce originality. I'm not understanding this double standard.

Now, I'm not saying that "Missing" is a great film. It's got some healthy doses of cheesiness and some of the events that take place during the opening hour may not hold up well after a second viewing, but there is a constant aura of interest that is maintained from start to finish – which is more than one can say for the seemingly endless barrage of carbon-copy Chinese historical epics like "The Warlords" and "Three Kingdoms" that quite frankly have NO originality, NO enjoyability, NO artistic integrity, and NO purpose for existing other than to ape Hollywood with soulless garbage masked behind a veil of massive budgets.

I'll take a film like "Missing" over those pathetic projects any day of the week. I may not recommend a blind buy, but a rental with reasonable expectations is not something to run away from.


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