Sunday, November 25, 2018

Video review: "Searching"

“Searching” shows that even with new tools, good storytelling still follows some very old rules.

This mystery-thriller stars John Cho as a dad searching for his missing daughter by following her digital trail on social media, email and chats. The entire movie plays out on computer screens, as David Kim types and clicks is way through a byzantine trail of clues.

It may not sound like you could watch an entire movie this way, but it’s surprisingly effective. Director Aneesh Chaganty and co-screenwriter Sev Ohanian keep things moving along at a brisk pace, keeping the audience guessing.

David and his daughter, Margot (Michelle La), lost their wife and mother a couple of years ago, and haven’t really processed their own relationship going forward. They both keep busy, and she’s going off to college next year, and they’re fumbling their way through.

One day Margot doesn’t return her texts or phone calls. A study group trip turns out to be bogus, so David grows worried and calls in the cops. Rather than being dismissive, they’re right on top of the case. Soon it becomes a media sensation, which only adds to the pressure.

What David learns from his searching is that Margot is very different from the person he thought he knew. She’s rather lonely and estranged from her fellow students. No one’s bullying her; it’s just that in this age of Instagram and Facebook, it’s easy to present a picture of a happy life without actually living it.

“Searching” is an engaging look at the search for not just a person, but the truth behind the façade.

Video extras are pretty good. They include a feature-length commentary track by Chaganty and Ohanian, plus three documentary shorts: “Changing The Language Of Cinema,” “Update Username: Cast and Characters” and “Searching For Easter Eggs.”



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