The movie called Missing Child is like the proverbial body of still waters that run ever so deep. Beyond the surface of this tense and quiet thriller, a whole lot more that meets the eye is brewing. As reported by the Hollywood Reporter, Missing Child is the brainchild of director and co-writer Luke Sabis, who stars as Joe — the push-up loving “December” partner to his younger “May” costar, the doe-eyed Gia.
The 33-year-old Kristen Ruhlin tackles the role of naughty-turned-good girl Gia with the perfect mix of aplomb, despite flashes of an horrific upbringing that appear in troubling snatches of memory exquisitely captured on film. At her side is the six-foot-tall Sabis, a Renaissance man who apparently leaped heart-first into his first film role – composing the movie’s score as well – along with casting himself in a light that isn’t always flattering.
Joe is a bit too perfect as the live-in love donning a knight’s gleaming armor, yet the screenplay gives hints of his combative and cunning dark side as he confronts Gia’s sleazy ex-boyfriend as soon as the film opens. It’s a beautiful blend of sexuality as it meets spirituality that permeates the entire film, which realistically portrays how God and sex are two topics that intertwine as masterfully as the Song of Solomon reveals – not in the milquetoast bland manner that some in the faithful flock would make them mutually exclusive.
Yet the sensuality and salaciousness of Missing Child unveils the thin and troubling line that can twist “let him kiss me with the kisses of his mouth” Bible hotness with hypocrisy, when characters like Henry (played convincingly by Charles Gorgano) start using Scripture like a whip to try and beat down his own guilty conscience.
And that in and of itself is the best part of Missing Child: the fact that those oftentimes preaching about the genuine salvation of Christ the loudest, or in the most obstructive and unforgiving ways, are the same ones likely to have the naked pics of women with legs splayed akimbo hiding in their Holy Book, right next to John 14:6.
On the other hand, the Gia types, those dirty and sexy girls who are often blamed for the downfall of “good men” – the same so-called mighty men of valor who may have taken advantage of their beauty and turned them into the scarlet-letter wearing sluts they’ve become – are the ones that display the genuine tenants of Jesus in Missing Child in the end.
There are a whole lot of lessons in Missing Child. Chiefly, ones that resonate hope, forgiveness, and the revelation that things are not always what they seem to be on the surface of the Good Book or two or three that the elderly Henry tosses around as he looks down his nose at the other characters and their sinful lifestyles.
Gorgeously, and without much of the derision and total weirdness that filmmakers like Stephen King save for biblical verses – and missing the curse-free blandness that movies like the War Room feel Christian movies must contain — Missing Child is akin to Machine Gun Preacher in that it reflects elements of real life.