Searching was a surprisingly well-written movie with great acting and an interesting twist. The film follows a father’s search for his daughter after she unexpectedly disappears. As the father (John Cho) looks for answers, he discovers his daughter’s life is the real mystery.
I attended a screening of this film anticipating disappointment because the story is told through smartphones and computer screens, but admittedly this perspective made perfect sense with the story. I typically find movies filmed from a digital point-of-view disappointing because the computer screen seems distracting and often unnecessary. Even though I would have preferred a different point-of-view, the perspective did make sense with the story. John Cho’s character is constantly digging through his daughter’s computer looking for answers. The use of the computer screen to tell the story was logical, and using smartphone screens and hidden cameras helped keep the film unified.
The acting and story itself also far surpassed my expectations. I have always considered John Cho a compelling actor. He has great range for his acting; he can be completely hilarious in movies such as Harold and Kumar Go To White Castle, or extremely serious in movies such as Searching. Even though John Cho is wonderful, I was worried the acting would feel strange in that video-call style communication (I just really have trust issues with this style of movie). When looking at the plot, I was also happily surprised. Mysteries should always have good twists, and make audiences feel suspicious about different characters. The uncertainty and suspense accounts for most of the thrill of watching mysteries. Searching was excellent in that respect: the movie made different characters seem suspicious, and the twist was carefully considered. If you continue reading my reviews, you’ll notice I’m a sucker for a good twist!
This movie was entertaining and engaging—definitely a worthwhile watch. My main criticism beyond the camera perspective is the robotic voice of the detective, Rosemary Vick (Debra Messing). You’ll hear it. It’ll be weird. But just ignore these small distracting moments and engage in the search.
*If you enjoy mysteries, you may also enjoy the TV series The Five (available on Netflix).