In the last review I spoke about Yardie, and how Idris Elba, in his directional debut hadn’t made a good film. Well Aneesh Chaganty, in his directional debut, has made one of the finest thriller films I’ve seen this year. Searching is about how a father begins to suspect that his teenage daughter has gone missing. He breaks into her laptop to find out who her friends are, who she has been talking too, what she is doing with her life. What he finds out on the laptop lead to clues and discoveries that otherwise wouldn’t have been found.
It’s a thrilling film. And what is different about it is that the whole film is shot through a computer screen. The majority of this is using the daughters Mac and the father searching on it. Some of it is filmed through the news. Some through the camera in a police investigation room. It’s really clever how it is shot and according to the director it took them a long time to figure out how to shoot the film. Whilst it is like this throughout the entire film it doesn’t feel gimmicky. It’s brilliant how effective they use to add something fresh to the thriller genre. The opening scene of the movie is the family documenting their daughter growing up through home videos, calendar dates. We learn so much about the family in such a short space of time, the daughters interest, what the family gets up to. Tragically the mother has died of cancer which we see documented through the computer screen (think of a 21st century UP, seriously, it’s quite heart-breaking) that by the time we see the family in the present we feel really connected to them. It’s an effective piece of story-telling. Quickly this tool stops being noticeable because the audience are so drawn into the family life.
There are plenty of other things that are good about this film. However the way of telling the story is very fresh. John Cho, the lead actor is brilliant as a father who has had to deal with so much heart-ache. He learns, with the audience, because we are seeing it with him for the first time too, so much about his daughter through her laptop. There are so many twists and turns throughout the whole movie. What I found totally different to other thrillers is usually when you see the clues it’s right at the end of the movie when the actor is describing how he came to that conclusion. With Searching, he normally finds the clue early on, and realises later and we see it all. So he might be flicking through a page that is a clue, carries on and then goes back to it, it’s so similar to what the audience is experiencing. It’s so damn clever.