After his 16-year-old daughter goes missing, David Kim (John Cho) frantically searches for clues by digging through her online world.
Go see it! Go see it! Go see it! This is hands down the best movie I’ve seen at the theater this year so far. A story told within the confines of apps, popup windows, video chats, and browsers. It sounds gimmicky, but trust me this approach works and it’s refreshing, and it never outstays its welcome.
Searching opens with a gut-wrenching account of the tragedy that causes the central father/daughter team to retreat into their respective online spaces, and then tells a brilliantly constructed story. It twists, it turns, it surprises, but it also has a touching emotional core that you can relate to.
John Cho is superb as the father getting to know his daughter via her various social media connections. He quickly discovers she has been lying to him, while also connecting with people online to talk about her mother’s death. Thereby causing him to reflect on the relationship he has with her, and how they had become so distant.
This is how mystery thrillers should be told. Every detail is important, and all the pieces come together nicely at the end. There are no lose ends, and it applies just the right amount of misdirection while keeping everything plausible. Even if you do figure it out early (I didn’t) you’ll still enjoy the ride this film takes you on.
This is also the best representation of social computing put on film that I’ve seen to date, because it’s kept simple and honest. There are no idiotic CGI shots flying over computer circuit boards, just points and clicks on actual programs we use every day, but perfectly timed to ramp up the action, or deliver another gut-wrenching scene. This is a very, very good film, a real crowd pleaser, go see it!
Starring: John Cho, Debra Messing, Joseph Lee, Michelle La
Directed by: Aneesh Chaganty
Written by: Aneesh Chaganty, Sev Ohanian
Rating: PG-13 Running Time: 1 hr 42 min.