I honestly didn’t know what to expect here. Most of the time, movies that involve modern technology or computers already look dated by the time they are released. I mean, try watching ‘The Net’ or ‘Hackers’ without snickering. And the last movie I saw that was set entirely within the confines of electronic devices was 2014’s ‘Unfriended’. Not a reference either. Turns out ‘Searching’ is not only quite the stylistic exercise, it is also just a downright solid movie.
In ‘Searching’ we follow David Kim (John Cho), a widower raising his 16-year-old daughter, Margot (Michelle La), in Suburbia, California. Most of their communication is through text messages and FaceTime calls. When Margot goes missing, David sets out to find her and we get to follow all of his online moves. From trying to figure out her social media account passwords to the list of unanswered messages that David sent Margot, director Aneesh Chaganty and co-write Sev Ohanian really went out of their way to come up with as many different ways as possible to incorporate the devices and apps we have come to rely on every day. Okay, they run out of steam at the end of the movie but hey!
When Rosemary Vick (Debra Messing) shows up as a very motivated police detective investigating Margot’s disappearance, the two of them start finding stuff that show that David maybe didn’t really know his daughter as well as he thought he did. But will it also help them find out what happened to Margot?
It would be easy to dismiss ‘Searching’ as that movie that wants to be clever by using smartphones and laptops to tell the story, but you would be missing out on a movie that had me on the edge of my seat all the way up until the unexpected ending. So much so that I even completely missed out on the alien invasion subplot that was snuck in as a joke.