A debut for directing and writing, Luke Sabis, also starring as our heroine’s unpredictable boyfriend Joe, brings us Missing Child. Sabis’ narrative film splices mystery and psychological drama as Gia, a woman whose childhood is as vacant as her parents, feels lost and undiscovered. With the help of Joe, Gia discovers a description and a photo of a lost child that bares some resemblance to herself, leading her to uncover her past as well as uncovering a handful of other secrets along the way.
An ominous opening detailing some sort of abduction, Gia’s life is detailed through an explicit past — her way of dealing with the trauma of not knowing where she came from — and the forceful nature of her boyfriend whose divergent motives, along with the discovery of who may possibly be her father, are shady and nondescript.
Kristen Ruhlin, an unfamiliar actress, dazzles as Gia, adhering to the tender and uncompromising life of a missing child and the hopefulness of finding those that she’s never had; a family. Introducing the man who could possibly be her father, Henry (Charles Gorgano), the situation has an eerie, almost uncomfortable aura when actions are unforeseeable and motives are uncertain. Is this her father, or is it a rouse?
Written with care, Sabis and co-writer Michael Barbuto relay twists and turns as the film acts more like a mystery mini-series — a possibility for Sabis’ bright future. Their tense and uneasy character dynamics lead to further riddles as secrets are unveiled and Gia’s life spins out of control. The drama escalates in such a tight area, hooking the audience and rounding this enigma off with an explosion.
Atmospheric audio, also created by the clearly talented Sabis, aids the scene, specifically a dinner ensemble when quiet chatter draws uneasiness and apparent deceits. It’s expertly done.
This small budget drama has the momentum of a great mystery, but carries a specific poignancy through its main character, supported by a fantastic performance that carries such pain. This award-winning director understands his concept and provides a film worthy of a find.
Dir: Luke Sabis
Prd: Soroya Andrade, Sebastian Sadowski
Cast: Kristen Ruhlin, Luke Sabis, Charles Gorgano
DOP: Francisco Bulgarelli
Music: Luke Sabis
Runtime: 80 minutes