The thriller drama STILL HERE, in which Deadpool 2 star Zazie Beetz plays a supporting role, deals with a real-life missing person case. We’ll reveal in our review what exactly it is and whether the film treatment captivates you.
OT: Still Here (USA 2020)
When 10-year-old Monique Watson disappears without a trace in New York City, the police don’t do much. Her father Michael (Maurice McRae) is desperate. Is the police perhaps so disinterested because “only one black woman” went missing? Out of necessity, the worried father teams up with Christian Baker (Johnny Whitworth), a caustic journalist who is supposed to report on Monique’s case. As public interest dwindles, Michael and Christian find themselves in a race against time in their search for clues…
The cinema has already told some dramatic missing person cases – one of the most emotional and exciting came in the form of “Gone Baby Gone”. The 2007 thriller drama marked the beginning of Ben Affleck’s directing career, which reached its peak five years later with the Best Picture Oscar-winning “Argo.” Starring Casey Affleck, Michelle Monaghan, Morgan Freeman, Amy Ryan and Ed Harris, “Gone Baby Gone” is of course an overwhelming benchmark for a film like “Still Here.” This is also a missing person thriller drama that is also a feature film director’s debut. And, to get one thing straight: the Romanian-American director Vlad Feier cannot compete with Affleck’s board.
A carefree day between father and daughter.
On the one hand, this is due to the script: Inspired by a true story, Feier and co-author Peter Gutter spin a story that is torn back and forth between the plot thread surrounding the white journalist and Monique’s parents. So the film loses its focus: for a story about systematic racism in the USA, in which a black life weighs less for the state apparatus than a white one, Johnny Whitworth’s is pushed (“No limit”) Christian Baker played too forward. At the same time, his sketches are too arbitrary for his “Spotlight”-esque research work to generate tension and drama. The father, portrayed by Maurice McRae, is a close figure: honestly broken and desperate, clinging to every hope and then resigning himself, even in the thought that he would at least finally have peace – and then condemning himself for it. Above all, the scenes in which McRae’s character struggles for calm in the self-help group are remarkable, as is a passage in which the police put a completely overwhelmed black man through the wringer because it is clear that he is guilty . This cross-examination, which leaves the man speechless and brings him to tears, vividly summarizes the essence of this film and many debates of the past weeks and months.
“For a story about systematic racism in the USA, in which a black life matters less to the state apparatus than a white one, Christian Baker, played by Johnny Whitworth, pushes himself too much forward.”
But with a sluggish narrative pace, a few idle scenes and shallow imagery, “Still Here” falls short of its potential – even a standout scene with Zazie Beetz doesn’t help much.
Conclusion: “Still Here” is a missing person drama influenced by true events that sparks in individual scenes, but overall disappoints due to its unfocused narrative style.
“Still Here” can be seen in cinemas from August 27th.