Searching follows David Kim (John Cho) and the search for his missing daughter Margot (Michelle La). The whole story is told through the medium of social media, FaceTime, news footage and computer searches.
The cynic in me might say that this is some sort of glorified attempt at advertising for the likes of Apple, Facebook, Microsoft, Google, and on some level it is. But these companies and their products are so engrained in 21st Century life that it makes perfect sense that David would turn to them in order to try and find his daughter. If I didn't know any better I'd say Searching was made by pointing a camera at a computer screen. In fact, the almost voyeur perspective has encouraged some inspired out of the box thinking in terms of how to shoot it. Despite only taking 13 days to film, the whole production took two years to complete thanks to the animation and editing. Each operating system and piece of software has been painstakingly recreated.
Searching encapsulates all that is good and useful about our online world, and at the same time, how incredibly dangerous it can be. It's almost as if the writers wanted to educate people - especially parents - regarding said dangers. Most of us have seen Taken, that's what happens when the missing girl's Dad is a super spy! This is how the average parent would go about trying to find their missing kid. And somehow the unique perspective from which this movie is shot, actually helps make the whole thing feel more real - by that I mean a complete fucking nightmare! John Cho is very convincing as a father beside himself with worry. He also does well given the odd way in which his performance is captured, especially when it comes to his interactions with his co-stars. Debra Messing and Joseph Lee are perfect as the cop leading the investigation and David's brother.
In his directorial debut, Writer/Director Aneesh Chaganty - along with co-writer Sev Ohanian - has created a tense and engrossing thriller, firmly grounded in reality. Searching will keep you guessing until the very end. Make sure you keep your eyes open though, because there are clues hidden throughout. Chaganty keeps the tension at the perfect level, just enough to keep audiences on the edge of their seats, but not so much that events begin to feel unrealistic. You'd be forgiven for thinking that a movie shot from the point of view of both smartphone and computer screens would either be boring or ridiculous, or both. But in this case, you would be wrong.
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