Directed by: Aneesh Chaganty
Starring: John Cho, Debra Messing, Joseph Lee, Michelle La, and Sara Sohn
Film Review by: Niall Maggs
The unique and interesting thing about Searching is that it's told completely by the perspective of David's (John Cho) computer and iPhone via FaceTime and webcam. This idea has been done before in Unfriended but never to this quality or effect. It's really quite immersive.
David's daughter, Margot (Michelle La), hasn't replied to the constant calls or texts sent by her father. She's left her laptop at home, and her friends don't know where she is either. David begins to search through her social media and previous text messages via their computer, to try and find where Margot has gone, and what has happened to her. This is the basic setup for Searching, and what follows is a riveting and thought-provoking tale of a father's desperate attempts to locate his daughter, while also subliminally providing a powerful commentary on the possible dangers of social media, and how you should take caution while talking to someone online, as they may not be who they really say they are...
John Cho in this film is great. He gives a realistic and emotional performance as Margot's father, and the fact he made this difficult role look easy says a lot. He's also a very likeable character, and someone the audience can root for due to his determination, while also being quite an inspiration as well. He never gives up. But I wouldn't be surprised if the Academy snub him of an Oscar nod, but he most definitely deserves recognition.
Michelle La is very good in this as well. She isn't in the movie much, but when she is, her acting is tremendously solid. Her character is quite deep, and the performance La gives is very profound.
Searching is filled with great twists, and creates a desire to watch it again just to notice the small details that you missed the first time around. It provides you with clues and hints throughout, but Chaganty's exceptional writing only highlights the importance of these clues in the third act. They were there right in front of our eyes, but we just dismissed them because they didn't seem significant or important, but boy we were wrong! This is a very cleverly written film.
The story of Searching borrows from many other movies such as Taken and Gone Girl, so there is a lack of originality. But Chaganty's direction and the way he decides to tell this gripping story gives it a unique and impressive twist. This is Chaganty's first feature film and I'm quite excited to see what he does next; this is a very solid debut, which deals with significant themes in a non-conventional way, and Is definitely worth your money and your time.