• Rodrigo Amaro21 August 2012
    10/10
    One of the most impressive film debuts I've ever seen
    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
  • jrosenfe17 September 2006
    9/10
    Intensity of nature, solitude of war
    Scott's early feature reflects the aesthetic predilections of students at the Royal College of Art and other similar schools in England in the late 1960s and early 1970s--that is an intense vision of nature related to the art of the radical painters in the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood in the mid-nineteenth-century. This represented a rejection of then-dominant modernism in art. Scott's exquisitely photographed (in black and white) natural scenery relates to paintings by John Everett Millais, William Holman Hunt, and Arthur Hughes, then enjoying a renaissance of sorts. In the relation of natural innocence, poignant ruins, and war, the short anticipates Malick's "The Thin Red Line," and here can easily be seen as a reflection on the disaster that was Viet Nam in 1971. In addition, one wonders if Scott studied Winslow Homer's works in art school, for one of the most famous illustrations and paintings by the American artist who chronicled the Civil War was one of a sharpshooter in a tree, wielding a newly invented firearm that could slay at great distance--a coldly mechanized aspect of this particular war. Scott's protagonist reflects on that seemingly unfair advantage, from the position of someone who experiences the heat of battle both behind and in front of the barrel. An impressive early feature, very much of its time.
  • jzappa18 September 2006
    6/10
    Not Sure
    I like Tony Scott's eye candy. I think he exercises what a lot of critics look down their noses at certain filmmakers for exercising, which is visual style. That is the focal point of the art of film. I just don't know how much I like this debut of his. I think he was still testing the waters when he made this.

    I like the idea of slowly and quietly building to a climax of madness, but he doesn't quite keep me riveted. I think both the rising action of the film and the climax are both a little tedious and a little overworked. I like Scott's concept but his execution needed work. He worked on it, of course, and now, I think, his movies are some of the most fun you can have at the movies.
  • postmanwhoalwaysringstwice26 September 2006
    7/10
    skinny
    Warning: Spoilers
    Many years before director Tony Scott got around to making such Hollywood friendly extravaganzas as "Top Gun" and "Man on Fire", he made this short Civil War film about a Confederate soldier going alone into enemy territory. Of course things go badly, which makes it especially unclear what the intention for the deadly mission was in the first place. Nonetheless, this visually interesting film does offer another examination of the atrocities of war, which was possibly the point of making the film anyway. It's told in a very quiet fashion, with minimal dialogue, and with an intensification of the sounds of nature. It's too bad that Scott couldn't have continued making films that show people in a more natural, personal way as opposed to how his characters ridiculously fatten up to caricatures with his bloated Hollywood work.
  • Darren O'Shaughnessy (darren shan)21 June 2001
    7/10
    Interesting early work
    Impressive short film by Scott (billed as Anthony Scott), made while he was still a film student. Set during America's Civil War, it follows the grim fortunes of a scout who becomes trapped in the rubble of a bombed-out house behind enemy lines. A little over-flashy perhaps (like some of Scott's later features!), but a definite cut above most similar student projects.