Missing Pieces Kenton Bartlett

Missing PiecesKenton Bartlett
Missing Pieces feels like a labour of love right from the start. An introspective, personal film about a man named David (Mark Boone Junior), who, following a head injury, loses the love of his life, Delia (Melora Walters), and hatches an elaborate plan to bring a couple of young loners, Maggie and Daylen (Taylor Engel and Daniel Hassel) together in order to make them fall in love. While not as eccentric as it sounds, Missing Pieces is definitely more ambitious than the average boy-meets-girl indie. Contentious post-break-up scenes with David desperately trying to win back Delia are intercut with scenes between Maggie and Daylen, complete strangers who find themselves trapped together in the middle of nowhere, yet aware that they are being watched. Sounds sinister, but Maggie and Daylen take it in stride. We find out about them as they get to know each other via a series of conversations and flashbacks. This is barely scratching the surface with this film, a wildly elaborate project made for a shockingly low budget by 20-year-old director Kenton Bartlett. Missing Pieces utilizes numerous outdoor locations and a wide variety of shooting styles to create a circuitous, heartfelt mystery about dealing with trauma of all types. Bartlett uses a light touch to allow his relationships to develop and intelligently weaves his multiple narratives together. While both veteran character actors Boone and Walters are solid, the movie's success hinges largely on the lead performances of first-timers Engel and Hassel, and both are compulsively watchable, demonstrating charming innocence without seeming cute or coy. Missing Pieces is packaged with an eye-opening half-hour making-of documentary and extensive commentary track from the director, which details the heartaches, headaches and sheer time-consuming mess of making the film in stops and starts from mostly donated labour over the course of two years. Bartlett's dedication to his project is rare and admirable, and somehow he makes it work, despite ambitions beyond his means. As yet unreleased, Missing Pieces deserves to be seen. (Contraction)