Review: Missing Child

Luke Sabis’ feature film, Missing Child, is a small gem of a thriller that is definitely worth your time.

Missing Child focuses on an aspiring fashion designer named Gia (Kristen Ruhlin) – a young lady whose life has been shrouded in mystery for as long as she can remember. Possibly abducted at the age of three and subsequently raised by foster parents, Gia is constantly plagued by nightmares that hint at her horrific past. She is timid, a bit quiet, and cannot bear to spend more than a few moments in complete silence. For instance, whenever she finds that her surroundings are too quiet, she will immediately turn on the radio. This is a quirk that her older boyfriend, a bail bondsman named Joe (played by the director, Luke Sabis), constantly seeks to remedy.

Gia has been through hard times, as evidenced by early scenes which imply that she may have acted in pornographic videos as a means to make money. She now has something that resembles a stable life with Joe and is looking forward to the future.

When Joe stumbles across an age-progressed missing child ad, he is amazed to find that the woman in the photo looks exactly like Gia. Intrigued by the idea that she may have discovered her biological father, Gia and Joe set out to meet Henry (Charles Gorgano), a seemingly kind elderly man invites them in for tea. Henry immediately takes a liking to Gia, but doesn’t think too much of Joe. As Gia wanders through the Henry’s home hoping to find something that will spark her memory, she notices a few disturbing things – namely a set of hardcore adult photos, tucked away in a Christian magazine – that give her second thoughts as to Henry’s character.

It is at this point that there is a definite tonal shift in the film. What starts off as an emotionally touching scenario gradually becomes darker, and before you know it, the intensity builds to an unforgettable third act.

We’re dealing with some repulsive subject matter here, and director Luke Sabis handles it with surprising restraint. Some of the most powerful moments in the film are the quieter ones, and so when the tension is finally amped up, you seldom see it coming. It’s an admirable directorial effort from Sabis, who is also a pretty competent actor in the role of Joe. The other performances are just as extraordinary, especially from Kristen Ruhlin and Charles Gorgano. Ruhlin brings a raw depth to the role of Gia in a performance that can only be described as brave. The same has to be said of Charles Gorgano, who is alternately breathtaking, heartbreaking, and downright terrifying in the role of Henry. This is an incredible cast.

is a superb example of indie cinema at its very best. It is not to be missed.

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