If that doesn’t sound like a traditional Mormon missionary, you’re right. It’s Hollywood’s version of what could happen if a Mormon let his passions get the better of him.
“Missionary” delivers a fresh take on the stalker genre with a whiff of Mormon bashing, but it’s more concerned with warning us what happens if we stray from our partners. You could get a smartly dressed man on your doorstep you won’t want to let in.
Mitch Ryan is Elder Brock, a handsome young Mormon on his two-year mission. He meets a single mom named Katherine (Dawn Olivieri) and her son while sharing news of his faith, and the trio strike up a friendly bond. The son (Connor Christie) needs someone to help him practice football, while mom is just plain lonely after she pushed her husband (Kip Pardue) out for cheating.
Cue the softly lit lovemaking scene between Elder Brock and Katherine, an embrace that happens far too swiftly and without enough character foreplay. Now, our Mormon friend thinks he’s found the love of his life, and he’ll do whatever God says he should do to keep them together.
“Missionary” follows some pretty familiar beats even if the Mormon adversary is a fresh concept. Those looking for religion bashing will find some here, especially a scene depicting Elder Brock’s racist views. It’s an unnecessary detail in a film that doesn’t depict Elder Brock’s cohorts as any thing but kind, generous souls.
Ryan makes Elder Brock a believable presence, striking a wounded tone when the romance hits a bump. The sight of a family pet under his not so gentle care is enough to rattle us. Still, Ryan’s approach to the character and suppression of an inner rage impresses.
“Missionary” director Anthony DiBlasi stages it all with a firm sense of tone, tension and belief in his cast. Even DiBlasi knows where the story must end, but he’s determined to deliver as solid a thriller as possible without the element of surprise to fall back on.