Searching Review: An excellent look at a parent’s worst nightmare
John Cho sheds some of his comedic skin to lead one of the best thrillers to grace the big screen in years. It’s modern concept and effective twists create a film that will draw viewers in.
Taking place solely through computer screens, viewers follow David (Cho), a father who struggles to connect to his daughter Margot (Michelle La) after his wife dies. Things get worse for David, though, as Margot goes missing without a trace. This leads David to obsessively scour her internet activity and work with a police detective (Debra Messing) in order to figure out what has happened to his daughter.
Using chat windows and the internet search engines has been used in plenty of horror and thriller films in recent times. However, none of them has used this method of storytelling as effectively as Searching does. It sets up the reasoning David and his family heavily use technology and actually showcases a fairly realistic representation of a family in the modern age. Not to mention, it accurately represents language and reactions from an online audience and all of these reactions feel very relevant to how many see social media now.
This filmmaking method also adds to the suspense as viewers are often left to see new information that pushes the story forward that the on-screen characters might not realize. It really packs a punch with each new piece of the puzzle and show the deep storytelling that Searching has.
Cho is excellent in this film and really showed how talented he truly is. His ability to convey the growing frustration and struggles of David through just webcam footage is truly spectacular. Many will even see David as extremely relatable, especially parents, and many will truly feel for his tough situations and paranoia.
Searching explores every part of the internet and even shows how far it has come in some ways. David’s findings and attempts at research feel pretty practical and the film gives a good look of different aspects of the internet. This method ultimately led to some surprisingly funny moments throughout the film as well. Searching finds a way bring in some solid comedic timing and moments that give viewers a break from the dark and heavy plot line.
Where I found the film’s strongest points to be, though, was when the film did a solid job of making me believe in the “red herrings” and possibilities on what actually happened. Often times “red herrings,” or possible culprits the film tries to allude to that end up not really being anything special, are typically overdone in thrillers and these characters feel too obvious at being nothing special. Not that there isn’t a moment or two that feel this way in Searching, but it ultimately does an excellent job in making viewers believe something different every time as it adds a new element or fact to the story.
Searching is a film that needs to be seen as soon as possible. Cho puts up one of the best performances of his already excellent career, the film is incredibly suspenseful and has plenty of awesome revelations, and is a modern story that many moviegoers can relate to.