My binge-watching this week has led me to two fascinating offerings, where technology and social media apps were a crucial facet of its storytelling.
The first was the Netflix thriller “Missing”, an anthology sequel to “Searching” from 2019, which centres on June Allen (Storm Reid), who is a contumacious 18-year-old, and her single mother, Grace (Nia Long), from Los Angeles.
The film looks at how June turns into an online super sleuth when her mom goes missing after leaving for a much-needed weekend getaway to Cartagena, Colombia, with her new beau Kevin Lin (Ken Leung).
If you are looking for a fast-paced offering, with solid performances and a compelling script, watch this.
“A Murder at the End of the World” was the other compelling watch.
The psychological tech thriller, which is the brainchild of Brit Marling and Zal Batmanglij, recently dropped on Disney+.
It follows Darby Hart (Emma Corrin), an author and amateur detective, who finds herself among the eight guests of Andy Ronson (Clive Owen), a billionaire tech disruptor who is known for being a recluse.
The first episode opens with Darby at a book signing for her debut memoir, “Silver Doe”. Her arrival is discreet, pretty much like her personality.
The moment she steps onto the podium in her red hoodie, she nervously unpacks her journey. At first, everyone in the room appears disinterested in her mousy disposition.
But the moment she starts delving into the dark path she travelled to find a serial killer, she shifts their perception.
Her narration includes meeting Bill Farrah (Harris Dickinson), who was an integral part of her investigation.
As the daughter of a coroner in the town of Lost Nation, Iowa, she was exposed to death for the better part of her life. Her curious nature often led her to spot clues that would otherwise go unnoticed.
And she was drawn to the Jane Does in their town. She was curious about their story and finding out what happened to them.
As she grew older, the interest grew stronger and that’s when she connected with Bill, a talented coder who needed a new challenge as he was growing tiresome of his world.
And so the two end up tracking a serial killer, who has a calling card of leaving jewellery close to his victims, for the better part of 2016.
Following the book signing, Darby is at her loft when she is approached by Andy’s AI assistant Ray (Edoardo Ballerini).
Aside from being speechless by the technology in front of her, she is also intrigued.
And so she agrees to join the all-expenses gathering at a plush, isolated haven.
The other guests include Lee Anderson (Marling), who is Andy’s wife as well as a legendary hacker; Ziba (Pegah Ferydoni), an activist opposed to capitalism; Lu Mei (Joan Chen), a pioneering Chinese tech titan; David (Raúl Esparza), a venture capitalist as well as Andy’s right hand; Oliver (Ryan J Haddad), a roboticist makes strides unheard of in his industry; Rohan (Javed Khan), a climatologist who has led a hermetic existence for the past two decades; and, last but not least, Sian (Alice Braga), a doctor turned astronaut.
Going by the credentials of the guests, it is, without a doubt, a meeting of great minds. Make that, genius minds.
As such, Darby is unsure about why she was invited. Not a social person, she doesn’t say much until she bumps into Bill at their dinner.
She’s so surprised as the two have lost touch since they last worked together.
But the reunion is short-lived after Bill is found dead and Darby, suspecting foul play, conducts a covert investigation.
However, staying at a hotel kitted with artificial intelligence that records everything, makes her objective of finding a killer in their midst that much more difficult.
There are only two episodes available for streaming.
But it is laden with twists and turns as Darby grows increasingly suspicious of Andy’s hand in the tragic turn of events, which leaves everyone unsettled.
An idiot savant in crime-solving, Darby is calculated with every move as she is gaslit by those around her.
Her only leverage is being undermined by everyone at the supermodern hotel. And she uses that in her arsenal of ruses to get to the bottom of the truth.
∎ “A Murder at the End of the World” is streaming on Disney+.