Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Dances with Films: Missing Child

I’ve had the pleasure of screening a few selections from this year’s Dances with Films, a film festival in Los Angeles currently in its 17th year.

Missing Child
Directed by Luke Sabis
Screening June 5 at 2:45pm

A title like this doesn’t leave too much to the imagination in one sense, and in another presents an endless set of miserable possibilities. It’s easy to guess what “Missing Child” is about, though this child abduction story focuses on the adult portion of the life of its protagonist, Gia (Kristen Ruhlin), as she struggles to contend with her lifelong obsession with finding her real parents from the few memories she has of being taken as a young girl. Her older boyfriend, Joe (Luke Sabis), tracks down a potential father candidate, Henry (Charles Gorgano), but, as the uneasy starting tone of the film indicates, there are far grimmer and more sinister things in store for the generally likeable Gia. In addition to starring and co-writing the script, Sabis makes his directorial debut with this initially intriguing but ultimately excessively disturbing story. Following a young woman’s search for answers about her past is an appealing concept, despite the dark nature of her history, but the film answers its questions in a fashion which is anything but reassuring or pleasant. Ruhlin does possess some talent and is capable of anchoring the film by portraying her character as someone both easy to read on a surface level and near impossible to decipher in more contemplative moments. Otherwise, this bleak drama-thriller isn’t too enticing.


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