Missing Pieces
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Each week, a handful of new movies make their way to your local theater. In most cases, they’re massive productions, made with millions of studio dollars. But moviegoers who stick to major releases are missing out on those worthwhile little indies—movies made by independent directors for a few thousand dollars and a whole lot of volunteer hours…like writer/director Kenton Bartlett’s Missing Pieces.

David Lindale (Mark Boone, Jr.) hasn’t been the same since suffering a head injury in an auto accident—and his wife, Delia (Melora Walters), has given up. Desperate to fix their relationship, he decides to do an experiment in love, using two of his young neighbors as subjects.

Maggie (Taylor Engel) works two jobs to support herself, but it’s never enough—and it doesn’t leave time for a social life. Daylen (Daniel Hassel) is a loner who isn’t really interested in going out or meeting new people. Both seem like good kids in need of companionship—so, after some careful planning and research, David kidnaps them.

Maggie and Daylen wake up in the middle of nowhere. They’ve been given an alarm clock and a stack of envelopes, and they’re instructed to open one each hour. As they work through the bizarre list of demands and challenges, they begin to learn more about themselves—and David, from his hiding place nearby, learns about love through their awkwardly budding friendship.

Missing Pieces is a captivating love story told under strange circumstances. Forced to open up to one another—or else—Maggie and Daylen end up forming the kind of bond that usually builds over weeks, months, and maybe even years of dinners and phone calls and carefully-worded emails. Through their kidnapper’s meticulously researched questions, they get to know each other’s likes and dislikes, their accomplishments and regrets. The two characters, meanwhile, are adorable—natural, easy-going, and surprisingly relaxed, considering their precarious state of affairs. And, despite the film’s dark undertones, their story makes for a fascinating study in relationships.

David, on the other hand, is more of a mystery. His thoughts and feelings aren’t laid bare, making him a bit of a shadow. Sometimes, he’s sweet and thoughtful and sincere—a friendly delivery guy who always greets people with a smile. But he’s also the kind of guy who will do a little bit of damage to the goods that he’s been paid to deliver—just because. And his love for Delia makes him go to some pretty disturbing lengths.

Missing Pieces is a twisted but captivating story—one that can be surprisingly moving when you least expect it. True to its title, it also has its share of missing—or at least mixed-up—pieces. The storytelling skips around a bit, and you’ll often be left wondering how the pieces (and the scenes) all fit together. At times, it can be frustrating—perhaps in an attempt to put viewers inside David’s sometimes-scrambled mind. But, despite those few perplexing moments, Missing Pieces is a sweet and darkly beautiful little puzzle—a worthwhile indie exploring the mysteries of love.

Ed. Note: Missing Pieces will be screening on Prescreen.com through November 21, 2011. For more information, visit FindYourMissingPieces.com.

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