A cleverly crafted thriller that twists and turns as it forces the audience to reflect on our relationship with the internet and how well we really know our nearest and dearest – Searching is worth looking out for.
Told through computer screens, FaceTime, text messages, security footage and news reports, Searching never opts for the traditional scene set-up, and, impressively, never feels too gimmicky.
The film opens with a montage similar to that in 2009's Up, where we see a whole life unfold in mere minutes that ends up really drawing you in and pushing you to the brink of tears. The difference here is that we learn all about a family's growth, turmoil and pain through switching between users on their home PC, looking in on select emails, home movies and calendar appointments.
Things really kick off when dad David (Cho) wakes up one morning to missed calls from his daughter Margot (La) from late the night before. When he tries to call her back and she doesn't pick up, he isn't instantly worried. But then something startling happens and the realisation sets in for him that he doesn't know his daughter half as well as he thought he did.
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With a missing person search now underway, David must trawl through her online presence, computer and social media to try to piece together the puzzle of a life he thought he knew.
As everything unfolds via some form of screen, so much of the film rests on extremely clever editing and it looks and feels like a puzzle. Cho's performance is at the centre of things and he is excellent.
There are elements of Gone Girl and The Killing in terms of twists and misdirection and the pacing is spot on in revealing key points, but the final act slips and it doesn't gel with where the story began or has been taking us.
Searching gets endless points for its clever use of this format, but is somewhat disappointing in how everything is tied up at the end.
Despite the final act, it's a film very much worth seeking out.