By James Mercadante
No parent wants to watch their worst nightmare unfold before their eyes, but “Searching” does not stray away from the anxieties of having a child gone missing as it encapsulates the panic, the unknowing and the determination a parent experiences under these circumstances.
Directed by Aneesh Chaganty, the film is presented through a series of texts, emails, webcams, Facetime sessions, newscasts and internet browsing. Recent widower and loving father, David Kim (played by John Cho), is forced to unravel the obscurities behind the disappearance of his daughter Margot (played by Michelle La), as there have been alterations to the truth through dishonest people on the internet.
With the film being entirely digital, it is evident that Chaganty is trying to promote the message that every aspect of an individual’s life can be visible on the internet, and how no one is safe with the excessive amount of information available online.
As the plot thickens, the unconventionality of an internet-based film is no longer discernible as audiences are finding themselves invested in the story’s progression and John Cho’s authentic performance.
The audience member can value the smooth process of using the internet as the film’s base while also appreciating the actors’ skills, like Debra Messing, who brought her character to life on screen as Detective Rosemary Vick, who works the case in the film.
David Kim is forced to learn about the secret internet world his daughter has immersed herself in, which insinuates that his daughter has been hiding a part of herself from her father. The movie tosses the audience around with plot twists that lead to other plot twists, however, the final truth unveils itself in a matter of five minutes.
The climax was the film’s strongest, yet weakest aspect. On one hand, it is a revelation that is unpredictable and staggering, yet it is also complicated.
To reveal the truth in a short amount of time can be overwhelming and utterly confusing to audiences. Despite the confusion, “Searching” is a gripping thriller that successfully entertains with its suspense and clever script, and also possesses the ability to make the audience second guess how much of their personal information they make available on the internet.