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October 9, 2019

Searching (2018) --- “He Can’t Find Out Where She Is Until He Finds Out Who She Is.”

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Hello, Movie Buffs!
     After the death of his wife Pamela (Sara Sohn) from lymphoma cancer, David Kim (John Cho) and his daughter Margot (Michelle La) have become distant in the last two years due to their grief. But when Margot goes missing and a local investigation run by Detective Rosemary Vick (Debra Messing) yields no leads after the first 37 hours, a desperate David decides to search the one place that might hold the key to everything: Margot’s laptop. As he ventures down an unnerving internet rabbit hole through Margot’s social media accounts, emails, and texts, he soon discovers that she wasn’t the person he thought she was. Can David find her before she disappears forever? Or was she lost before the investigation even started?

     Directed by Aneesh Chaganty (Run) and co-written alongside Sev Ohanian (Run), Searching (2018) is a mind-blowing thriller that keeps you on the edge of your seat with various twists and turns throughout. The story is held together quite well and doesn't foreshadow or give away the ending too much. In addition, the story also touches on the influence that technology has on our interpersonal relationships and how it plays with what it means to truly know someone, and the twist at the end only solidifies that point. What also holds the story together is the way in which it is delivered. The cinematography is incredibly unique as it is a cross between found footage and screen captured film. The entire film takes place through video chat, text messages, news clips, and various social media accounts on laptops or mobile phones so make sure that you pay close attention to all the little details because they build up and play into the story’s final outcome.
     The performances are solid and the various characters are layered and multifaceted more so than usual. The film primarily follows John Cho’s (Star Trek, Harold & Kumar) character and he gives a striking performance as the father, David Kim, who is willing to do whatever it takes to find his daughter. The supporting cast - Debra Messing (Will & Grace), Joseph Lee (Lion), Michelle La, Dominic Hoffman (Grey’s Anatomy), and even Sara Sohn (Sense8) - did an outstanding job with their respective performances however the only flaw would be that each of the characters were better acting alone rather than bouncing off of each other. There are numerous scenes where we see text being typed through text messages or online chat sites and then it gets deleted for various reasons. It’s moments like those that offer an insight into how the character is thinking and what they could possibly be going through.

Overall, Searching (2018) is a gripping, mind-blowing, edge of your seat thriller that will keep you guessing until the very end. The story keeps a nice pace and relies on the use of its unique cinematography - a combination of found footage and screen captured film - and solid character performances to deliver the story. If you have not already seen this film than I suggest that you check it out, its far better than I ever expected.

Final Vote --- 7.4 of 10 stars

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