Friday, March 8, 2013

Megan Is Missing

Holy shit. After reading about this movie from a few different sources, I figured I knew what I would be in for when I watched it. I even stumbled across a plot point or two that I thought would have a spoiling influence. I'm surprised to say that this is the most disturbing thing I've seen in a long time. I can think of a movie or two that had a more devastating effect on me, and I can certainly name several that are better made and more artistically impressive, but this had a surprisingly brutal effect on me.

Megan Is Missing tells the story of two girls, Megan and Amy. They're barely teenagers and they don't have a lot in common with one another apart from caring deeply for one another. Megan is the cool girl who has lots of friends. She does different types of drugs and screws around with lots of boys. Amy is more of a square - she's a daddy's girl who is more studious, mousy, and self-conscious. I got the impression they were so tight with one another because each wanted what the other had - they complemented one another well. Megan disappears one day, Amy follows suit a number of days later, and both end up in the same place by the end of the film.

Kids behaving precociously in terms of sex and drugs skeeves me out. I'm not pigheaded enough to assume it's some harbinger of changing times that kids are into nasty shit. Humans have been around a little while by this point, and I have no doubt they were fucking and altering their consciousness at a young age since the beginning. It's still depressing and gross, though. Writer/director Michael Goi taps into the Larry Clark vibe pretty well in an early scene that takes place at a house party. It's hard to believe that tons of teenage girls would pay $10 for the privilege of partying in what appears to be a crackhouse-style domicile with some assholes, but what do I know? I never paid $10 to go to a party in my life. Anyway, it's a grim atmosphere and the fish-out-of-water feeling that follows Amy around through this scene is oppressive. I was feeling depressed even before things got horrifying.

There are several tonal shifts throughout the movie, which makes sense considering the conceit is that it was cobbled together from webchats, skype conversations, video camera footage and television news broadcasts. While it's pretty clear throughout that this is scripted stuff and not a real documentary, it's a pretty good example of the faux doc genre. There's some social satire that appears from time to time that's a little too obvious, but on the other hand it's hard to blame dude for putting a little levity to counterbalance the pitch black depths of depravity shown. The friendship between the girls was believable, not to mention a nice respite from the endless asshole/bitch kids they were dealing with in their social lives.

I suppose if you don't have kids, especially daughters, this might not be that scary to you. It would also be tempting to criticize Goi for sensationalizing the Dirty Kids Of Today in the pursuit of shock or using prurience to garner the audience's attention. There are also scenes that go on way too long. So I'm not saying this is a perfect film, by any means. However, I found it genuinely upsetting, which doesn't happen often. It's a cautionary tale done in thoroughly disturbing fashion. This one will stick with you for a while.

Tomorrow: Snowtown

No comments:

Post a Comment