A protective father becomes desperate when his 16-year old daughter goes missing. In a household where social media dominates communication, he uses her laptop to digitally trace her footprints.
The whole film is presented entirely on computer and phone screens. Yes, all through social media outlets and mobile applications. Similar to the webcam idea used in terrible films such as Paranormal Activity or Cyberbullying, the plot unravels exclusively through the screens we know way too well today; and it’s truly exhilarating. The plot is strong, the twists are wild, and the performances are even better. Director Aneesh Chaganty makes an astounding feature debut that does the impossible without being corny or downright boring. One aspect of this film that was surprising is the extensive amount of emotion conveyed through each situation. The first couple of minutes is something special and although it's an act we've seen in classic Pixar animations, it's still hard hitting. With a format like this, it can quickly become comedic, but the story was so powerful that not once was I taken out of the moment. Additionally, there are some really neat tricks on display that transition to a different monitor so smoothly that you don’t even notice. After the first ten minutes of the film, the computer screens are inevitable, and now you’re fully in for the ride.
With no spoilers, this film is not what you think. The film is an intense investigation with a highly frustrated father who will do anything to find his daughter; and I mean anything. The suspense intensifies when details are revealed that are not necessarily suspected. We are plunged in with familiar web habits that show how dark the internet can and will be if we simply make the wrong move. By the same token as hit technological ambassadors such as the Black Mirror franchise, this is also a wake-up call. A revelation to the dangers of social media in a raw perspective, because this can happen to anyone.
Not one performance was dull in this film. Everyone played their role exceptionally well, especially knowing that this had to be filmed through two lenses. That is a huge commitment to ask of any talent and they all delivered.
In the end, Searching is a pleasant surprise that serves up a gripping narrative from an innovative concept that I’m sure we’ll see again from rising filmmakers.
Take a load off the blockbusters, and pop this in for movie night.
You'll thank me later.