Searching Movie Review: Highly intriguing thriller

By Johnson Thomas

As the title suggests, Searching is an innovative essay of single father David Kim's (John Cho) online attempts to find his missing daughter.

A still from Searching

Searching
U/A: Mystery/Drama
Director: Aneesh Chaganty
Cast: John Cho, Debra Messing, Michelle La
Rating: 

Debutant director Aneesh Chaganty's intriguing short film concept expands into a movie that postulates on the digital life that millennials are addicted to. As the title suggests, this film is an innovative essay of single father David Kim's (John Cho) online attempts to find his missing daughter. The thriller is told with breath-binding vivacity and inventive craft.

The narrative uses digital social life as the means to find the whereabouts of the missing teen, Margot (Michelle La), who had gone to a friend's place for an overnight study session and then inexplicably, lost all connect with her family, friends, and acquaintances.

The film boots up with a long reminisce through the Kim family's recent past, which includes Margot's early milestones and a glimpse into her mother Pam's (Sara Sohn) struggle with lymphoma. The narrative then goes into overdrive exposing a lonely teen's struggle to make sense of her loss, and a grieving husband who suddenly has to deal with his daughter's inexplicable disappearance. There are plenty of twists and turns as the search unfolds. The mystery gets augmented along the way, and the tension reaches fever-pitch as we wait with bated breath for Margot to return safely.

As he weaves an affecting story about a father-daughter relationship, Chaganty proves himself adept at handling a thriller set largely in the digital world. He sets the stage for a riveting search as his protagonist combs through online histories for clues on what might have transpired in real time. Rifling through all possible online modes of discovery including Instagram, Facebook, a self-streaming site called YouCast, GPS and hidden webcam footage, Chaganty makes a lucid expose on the nuances of a life less lived.

The actors, including Debra Messing as the detective volunteering for the search, ace their roles. Editors Will Merrick and Nick Johnson add to the suspense by designing an intricately woven tapestry that fits in with the fascinating central concept.

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