"“This is a passion project that had touched many people and their willingness to work for no money epitomises this…”"
When critically analysing a film, there are various factors that must come into consideration in order to give the film the fair assessment it deserves. Missing Pieces, which was made on a budget of just $80,000, must therefore be analysed in alliance with the film’s humble resources.
It’s a sincere and poignant feature film, written, directed and produced by first-time filmmaker Kenton Bartlett. It portrays a lonely and mentally unstable man named David (Mark Boone Junior), who after hurting his head in a car crash is desperately fighting to win back the love of his ex-partner Delia (Melora Walters).
As David struggles to persuade Delia to take him back, he devises a perfectly sadistic stunt, to kidnap two innocent and lonely young adults, Daylen (Daniel Hassel) and Maggie (Taylor Engel), and sub-consciously force them to fall in love with one another. After tranquilizing them both and driving them to the middle of nowhere, David sets up various challenges and conversation starters in order to help proceedings, as they eventually must depend on each other to avoid further threat.
The film, to begin with, is relatively confusing and difficult to follow. However, as it progresses, characters and visuals start to fit together and make sense, piecing together like a jigsaw. The film may actually be better upon second viewing in order to fully appreciate it from the start with a clearer understanding. This film does have missing pieces, and I’d quite like to find them.
The budget, which was incredibly low, was used solely on equipment. The staff, from the leading roles to the camera crew, all worked for free, and you really felt that this was a passion project that had touched many people and their willingness to work for no money epitomises this.
Missing Pieces is a very emotionally charged drama – and one that is very easy to connect with. It portrays human emotions that anyone can relate to, despite the rather far-fetched premise. It is highly thought-provoking, and triggers an array of feelings throughout.
It’s also aesthetically pleasing, and visually you get the feeling that every shot is placed for a reason and that there are certainly no accidents in the film’s mise-en-scene.
As for the acting, that too is strong, particularly that of Boone Junior, who shines in the role of the tragic David. He manages to encapsulate the damaged soul, and despite performing some acts that aren’t particularly pleasant (or legal for that matter), he still manages to keep me on his side due to his vulnerability and fragile personality.
The film does also have its faults. It is confusing in many places, at both ends of the movie, and perhaps is sometimes too over-complicated when a more straightforward approach would have worked. It occasionally opts for something mildly pretentious, resulting in it losing its way at points.
But it’s just an art house production, and with such a tiny budget you can’t help but admire it. It’s not amazing, but it’s honest and touching and if it’s a sign of things to come from Bartlett, then I’d love to see what he would do with $8 million, rather than $80, 000.