Just another gimmick?
John Cho was actually credited as playing ‘MILF’ Guy in American Pie.
Then came along the Harold and Kumar films, helping to typecast the actor as a goofy ‘stoner’.
It wasn’t until I saw him in Star Trek that I personally started looking at him as a serious actor and his performance in Searching has convinced me that he’s up there with the best of them.
Cho plays David Kim, a father who’s 16-year-old daughter (Michelle La as Margot) goes missing. A local investigation is opened and a detective is assigned to the case. But 37 hours later and without a single lead, David decides to search the one place no one has looked yet, where all secrets are kept today – his daughter’s laptop.
In a modern thriller told via the technology devices we use every day to communicate (Facebook, Instagram, Web Cams, CCTV, etc), David must trace his daughter’s digital footprints before she disappears forever.
The opening of Searching is a powerful one. During a montage similar to Pixar’s ‘Up’, we see Margot growing up, and within minutes we’re invested in the character. For me, this is the key to the movie’s success. Had I not have cared for the protagonists’ safety, this could’ve been a rather dull viewing experience. That wasn’t the case. This may not have the action seen in comparable films such as Taken, but it’s just as thrilling.
My biggest concern was that the filming style may have come across too gimmicky. It was literally just a few weeks ago that Unfriended: Dark Web was released, which used the exact same style of filmmaking – and it wasn’t done well.
With Searching however, a lot of thought went into how they could enhance the movie with it – with one scene where the screen buffers being particularly suspenseful. Through seeing numerous articles, messages, and CCTV footage on screen, I felt like I was part of the investigation and I had a great time trying to put the clues together.
Did I solve the mystery? No. But I like the fact that it is possible to.
I also like the message behind this movie. We leave digital ‘breadcrumbs’ on just about every social networking site we go on. With so many people pretty much documenting their entire lives online, it’s not going to be hard for someone to get all the details they need to find a person and befriend them. Hopefully this will make some people think twice about the amount of personal detail they’re putting out there for the world to see.
Overall, it may have helped that I’d walked into Searching with very low expectations – but I’m glad I found what I was looking for.
Cast: John Cho, Michelle La, Debra Messing, Sara Sohn & Joseph Lee
Running Time: 1 Hr 41 Mins
Director: Aneesh Chaganty
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