The New movie Missing This is the latest version of a format called “screenlife,” The plot is developed entirely through the use of screens and devices.
JUANA SUMMERS, HOST
Right You could now use your tiny screen to purchase tickets to a bigger screen to view a movie.
(SOUNDBITE of FILM. “MISSING”)
MEGAN SURIAs Veena) You’re Continue reading Kevin’s email?
UNIDENTIFIED ACTOR (As character) You You should let the police deal with this.
STORM REID (As June) I tried. But We’re running out time.
Who These are the people?
SUMMERS: The movie is “Missing,” A thriller about a young girl who searches the internet to find her missing mother. Columbia. It’s Screenlife is the latest form of a genre that has become so popular, where plot development takes place purely via the screens that dominate our daily lives.
TodayOur guides to screenlife can be found here Linda Holmes And Stephen ThompsonThe hosts of NPR’s Pop Culture Happy Hour. Hey, y’all.
STEPHENTHOMPSON, BYLINE Hey.
LINDA HOLMES BYLINE: Hey.
SUMMERS: And They will be joining us in the first installment The Take. It’s This is our weekly segment of cultural criticism, commentary, and commentary. AndYou’re all welcome to return to screenlife in a split second. But First, could you please set the scene with this movie? “Missing”? How What happens when all the action is over there?
HOLMES: Well, “Missing,” As you have mentioned, it is about a young girl, played by Storm ReidHer mother, who is accompanied by her boyfriend on vacation. Columbia A certain type of disappears and goes without-contact. So A young woman is trapped at home, staring at her computer. She decides to use every tool at her disposal to locate her mother and find out what happened to her.
SUMMERS: OK. And To me, this sounds like the essence of what I love. Gen Z movie right? Young girl or young woman sitting at home, all her devices in hand, and using them to discover a new world. Am You are on the right webpage?
THOMPSON: Yeah. It’s an effective movie. It’s A bit twisty and taut. And It does a good job. It’s It is easy to see a movie like this being slowed down by flashing cursors, dial-up modems grinding and other annoying things.
You You know, it is probably 25% twistier (ph), than it needs to. But It was a great mystery, and it was fast-paced and engaging.
HOLMES: It was a great book. You You know what? I believe these movies are thrillers in some ways that can only be considered horror movies if the parents of teenagers are watching them.
HOLMES: Because They stress the importance of how much information this young lady has access to, and how much her mother (and her mother’s boyfriend) understand. So It does a great job of being that quintessential, as you mentioned. Gen Z movie partly because it is about being fully immersed in your life.
SUMMERS: So One of the producers for this movie “Missing,” Timur BekmambetovThis genre has been a passion of hers for quite some time. What What was his role in the creation of this genre?
HOLMES: WellAs I understand it, he created the term screenlife to describe this kind of film. And He returns to “Unfriended,” Which was – he was also one of the producers “Unfriended,” The horror movie was released in 2014. “Unfriended” As a haunted Zoom call…
THOMPSON: Yeah (laughter).
HOLMES: …That’s It is what it is. And That’s all there is to it. But He was also one the producers. “Searching,” It was published in 2018 and is a precursor to the upcoming release. “Missing,” Which star John Cho As a father whose daughter was missing, he tried desperately to get in touch with his digital life to find out what had happened. And This producer was also part of all three movies.
THOMPSON: It It is fascinating to consider these movies as part of a particular genre, and screenlife as a type of moviemaking.Cause It’s innovative in certain ways. It This is a revolutionary way to make movies. It’s This is also a way of getting around some of the constraints on budget associated with filmmaking. This is – When people talk about “Unfriended,” One of the first things they mention is that this movie cost $1 million to produce and grossed more than $60 millions worldwide. And Although I don’t enjoy getting too involved in the business side, it is an important ratio of costs to gross revenues.
And You could have made it in 2020, during the height of the pandemic. Each actor would be locked in their apartments. And It is still engaging and full of dread and concern. You You will be able to see that it is a well-made movie. Zoom.
SUMMERS: You When I think about this movie, I am struck by a thought: Do you believe that screenlife has a moral stance regarding the technology it uses. Are we supposed to feel that these screens and devices are good or bad? I mean, I’m I’m overwhelmed by the number of devices right in front of me right now.
HOLMES: Yeah. It’s not just one or the other, but a combination of them, right? This The devices and the access to vast amounts of information would not have allowed the young woman to be able to help her mother. At These films, especially for young people, also highlight the danger of falling into the rabbit holes of isolation or uncontrolled connection. – both. And For me, it’s less morality and more – I think in part it’s trying reclaim some of the horror and thriller films that were lost when technology was invented. Because You now need to explain peril situations. Why Is it possible for someone to pick up their phone and use it in an emergency? You It’s kind of like, “I lost it,” somebody stole it. It’s broken. It’s out battery or out of range. And These things must be dealt with because horror and thriller films will no longer have the ability to isolate certain types of people.
So For me, this is just a case of them reclaiming. What’s the upside to us? What Are these the new problems we now have? You know, we no longer have the ability to use the old problems like the babysitter who cuts the phone cord.
THOMPSON: Yeah. It’s A classic example of turning weakness into strength is the one you see here. You Have budget restrictions? This This is one way to work around budget restrictions. You Increased connectivity can create narrative obstacles that are difficult to overcome, like Linda “Where can you just cut a telephone line?” Work With that. Use You can use the phone technology to help you tell your story in different ways. So It is a way to turn weaknesses into strengths.
HOLMES: But, StephenThis is a moral question for you as a parent. LikeDo you think like this? I’m Are you glad that I don’t have any 14-year-olds right now?
THOMPSON: (Laughter(I mean that my children are now 18 and 21. AndYou know what? I – evidently. I’ve Beobachtete “Missing” I saw it through a parental lens. I watched “Unfriended” Through the lens of a parent. But All these things can be done with technology. Rorschach tests, right? You You know that technology is available if you make use of it. It It can be overused if it is used too much. I watched. “Missing” As a parent, I thought surveillance works both ways. Parents You can use…
THOMPSON: …That Technology can be used to monitor their children just as well as the other way around. SoYou know, all these things. I believe movies have the potential to be too moralistic about the use of technology. But This technology is just like any other tool.
SUMMERS: That’s NPR’s Stephen Thompson And Linda Holmes. Thanks You can have them both.
THOMPSON: Thank you.
HOLMES: Thank you.
NPR transcripts are created on a rush deadline by an NPR contractor. This text may not be in its final form and may be updated or revised in the future. Accuracy and availability may vary. The authoritative record of NPR’s programming is the audio record.