2011 / Director. Shane Ryan.
Review by Glenn Cochrane.
Shane Ryan is an American independent filmmaker and I have been itching to include his films on this website. I only write reviews while films are fresh in my mind and because it's been ages since I've watched any of his, I have been waiting to get my hands on a few so that I could get started. First off the rank is THE GIRL WHO WASN'T MISSING. This is the story of Echo, a 15 year old girl who is gang raped and thrown out of home when her father discovers a used pregnancy test. Out on the street without money or support she wanders aimlessly as the world around her continues to turn. Her life soon spirals into a cycle of prostitution, theft and drug use. If you aren't aware of Shane Ryan's work then you ought to take some time to check him out. He deals with some of society's hidden truths and explores the human condition in an honest and confronting way. His films are divisive and challenging and deserve attention. Of all the films of his I have seen, I find them to be provoking and uncomfortable. THE GIRL WHO WASN'T MISSING captures this teenage girl's life without sugar coating. The camera doesn't flinch from some of the more explicit material and viewers could be forgiven for turning away. Watching a young woman being raped by several men is not something one enjoys, but seeing a filmmaker tackle the material in an intelligent and respectful way sure is affecting. The performance from Kai Lanette (who also co-wrote) is outstanding. She compromises nothing and delivers a hugely brave and commendable turn. Ryan's camera work is excellent too. Entirely hand-held, he points and shoots and knows how to capture unsuspecting moments brilliantly. One moment he might be focused on the central character and without hesitation he will notice something majestic (like birds in flight) and turn his attention without distracting from the story and, in fact, adding a huge amount of sincerity and symbolism. He is a director that I cannot help but admire and can't think of many other filmmakers who speak with a social conscience quite like he does. If you have seen the Australian film 2:37or some of Larry Clark's earlier films then you will have an understanding of Ryan's sensibilities.
Click here to read my recent interview with Ryan.