And so it ended. It started here in this 25 minute short film and went all the way until "Unstoppable", in a journey that includes "Top Gun", "True Romance", "Crimson Tide", "Enemy of the State" and many other films. Tony Scott's great curriculum consisted mostly of action films of deep impact and enormous sense of visual style that was a fundamental characteristic in his works, it was easy to recognize the way he photographed, edited and directed his movies. Looking back at "One of the Missing" now that we have full access to his later works one can feel some strangeness in everything he puts on the screen, so different of what we're used to see yet one thing never changed, stick with him throughout his career: his sense of making us interested, intrigued, immersed in its story, thrilled by his images.
Usually, most directors when they start shooting their first short films tend to make really small projects, ten minute maximum, lacking in complications but they really attract something on us. Contrary to the majority, Scott gives us here a longer film yet magnificent, already exploring all of his talent by making us trapped in a pile of rubble along with James Clavering (Stephen Edwards), an Southern soldier fighting in the American Civil War who end up in this terrible situation he can't get off in almost any possible way. The only solution he encounters after shouting, trying to move the stones and all, is to shoot himself with his loaded weapon at which he stares for a long time, desperately trying to reach it.
In all of those 25 minutes, Mr. Scott haunted us with the horrors of war more than many war flicks that takes 3 hours to give some message. It's scathing, dramatic, tense, devastating and it really show why war is pointless. We feel Clavering's pain, anguish and desolation through his scary screams, his unstoppable eyes seeking for some way to get out of there, and truth be told Stephen Edwards is a terrific actor, very expressive. Too bad he never made anything else after this.
"One of the Missing" doesn't resemble Tony Scott future works since it's quite silent, the editing isn't so rushed giving us countless events that are unfolding such as car chases, shootouts and stuff. It's a very quiet movie, with very few dialogs in the beginning, and Scott's only stylish use of editing appears when the soldier recollects all the events that brought him to the situation, a small flashback inter cut with him trapped in the pile of rubble, that inter cut to his screams, his eyes, his open mouth, the barrel of the gun that stares back at him. What to do? What to do?
It's a great movie, a wonderful exercise in style that proves with no doubt what a magnificent director Scott would become. What impressed me the most is how forward this was, way ahead of its time (was he evoking Vietnam in a way?) and the fact of a Brit filmmaker making a convincing portrayal of an American war (the uniforms are authentic, the soldier's accents as well). But I have to say that is a strange and uncomfortable experience in parts, specially if we consider what happened to the director just a few days ago. It made me wonder if he thought about this film he made way back in time, thinking "I'm trapped and this is the only solution". 10/10 RIP Tony