By Marissa Ammon
Searching is a movie that certainly sounded off the summer. Aneesh Chaganty is the clever director of this web-based cinema.
Former Harold & Kumar actor, John Cho plays David Kim, a concerned father looking for his sixteen-year-old daughter, Margot Kim (Michelle La). He finds out that she cancelled her piano lessons for the last six months, while lying to her father that she has been going to piano lessons. When she is expected to be on a mountain camping trip with her friends, it is brought to Margot’s father that she did not show up.
What is unique about this film is that it is filmed entirely on a computer screen. Scenes where you see David video chatting the detective assigned to the case, Rosemary Vick (Debra Messing from Will & Grace), the text messages back and forth from his brother and Margot through the computer.
When she disappears, he finds her laptop in the kitchen at home. He searches through her messages and social media to find evidence. The more he searches, he realizes that her life was more complicated than he thought.
He even looks through his deceased wife, Margot’s mother’s computer to find contacts that are “friends” with Margot. When David finds her Facebook friends, he messages all of them, creating a spreadsheet on Excel where they were on Thursday night. None of them were friends with Margot.
Cinematography has always been shown in the same format up until now. We are living in an almost completely digital age. The drama/thriller/mystery category is a very popular genre of movies with a unique way of telling a realistic, intriguing story with plot twists. Since the genre is based on real-life events, like murder mysteries, criminals, mass shooting, and everything else going on in the news today.
Unfortunately, this genre is not making the news as often, with comedies, actions and adventures, horror are all popular with the youth today. Movies in the suspense, thriller, and realistic drama categories need more publicity and attention. The audience in the theater was very minimal in the two times this was seen. The bottom line: Searching is a modern thrill.
After watching the film twice, there are a few contradictions in this plot. On the Thursday night of her disappearance, Margot calls her father three times while he is sleeping and never picks up her phone again. Wouldn’t the cops know where to find her phone?
Also, she left her laptop at home, which is out of character for her since she took it everywhere including school. This could happen in real life, but it does seem far fetched.
Michelle La is a young, newbie actress. Although this movie will give her a substantial amount of publicity, she still has a way to go. Perhaps, La should participate in roles both comedic and dramatic, rather than the same old Margot Kim. We don’t see her full potential as an actress, with her filmography list extremely short of roles, including an episode in CBS’ comedy, Mom. Therefore, we need to see more of her in these types of movies and television episodes.
John Cho’s acting is superb. His character comes off laid back, then concerned when Margot does not answer her phone. Debra Messing plays a serious, willing, hard-working detective, who wants to help the case get solved no matter what. She leads the investigation determined to find Margot.
Finally, the special effects used in this film is what adds to the suspense. A lot of zooming in on the computer screen indicates what David sees as important, such as the website of solved and unsolved cases in the state of California. There are more open cases than closed cases.
Photo stills are held there at rest to emphasize the relevance of that image. The GPS video shows David driving from where Margot was last seen to the Barbosa Lake. This effect adds to the climax.
More or less, we have never seen a movie like this, where everything is on the digital screen. It is a captivating story with a major plot twist. Every single detail matters. For these reasons, I highly recommend seeing this when it comes on DVD or Netflix! Happy searching!