Searching, 7.91/10, will make every parent question how much they really know their children. As director Aneesh Chaganty’s feature film debut, I was skeptical to see whether the chosen technique was going to be sustainable throughout but I can confirm it most definitely holds up. This creative thriller will have you in complete suspense from beginning to end as the plot unfolds. Searching utilises a platform that the audience will all be too familiar with – the evolving presence of social media and technology in the twenty-first century. The whole film is cleverly portrayed through the tracking of a mouse using FaceTime, iMessage and social media stalking – a similar to the style adopted in Unfriended (2014) but this film far surpasses how they used the style.
David Kim (played by John Cho) and his 16 year old daughter Margot (played by Michelle La) have a close relationship or at least that is what David has thought all his life. However, when Margot – completely out of character – goes missing and looses touch with David, he starts to panic and desperately tries to track down his lost daughter. But as the hours pass and there’s still no sign of Margot, David needs answers and he needs them now. To piece together the series of events, he turns to her laptop and social media platforms in hope of discovering any hints as to where she could be. However, on investigating, he quickly learns that the relationship he believed to have with his daughter was completely different from who she really was or what she was dealing with behind closed doors. Firstly, I want to start by commending John Cho for his brilliant performance in this movie. He portrays every emotion that a parent would feel in his heartbreaking and does so perfectly. I feel that this is one of the main contributing factors as to why the audience get so engrossed with the narrative. The technique also allows the cast to do something that is normally unachievable with the conventional filming and this is the self editing of text before it’s spoken. Acting as internal monologue, the audience is able to see what a character wishes to say rather than what has been actually said which is so relatable as we are prone to doing this at some point. At various significant points throughout the narrative, numerous characters draft meaningful messages, only to delete and replace them rather than saying what they really feel.
I have tried to keep the plot discussion to the bare minimum as I don’t want to divulge to much information. Searching is full of suspense and nail-biting twist and turns that really shine a light on how out of touch you can be with your child. After all, that is how most of the modern generation grow: on an online platform or with a camera facing them. I feel that the technique utilised will almost become the new found footage trend but a message to the creatives that now fancy a shot at competing with Searching: you are going to have a tough job to match/go one better than this. From the word go, I was engrossed in every click, every new bit of information that may lead to finding Margot. I can’t encourage you to go see this anymore than by saying you will be throughly fixated for the full 1 hour and 42 minutes.
Entertainment (of its Genre): 8.5/10
Overall Rating: 7.91/10