This film came out Friday the 31st of August in the UK. So this has been out for over a week now! This a total spoiler warning!
If you have not seen this film and plan on doing so, DO NOT READ THIS YET!
Every so often, you come across a movie that completely surprises you and takes you aback. Searching is definitely on that list this year for me.
I have been seeing the trailer for this for a while and heard the buzz for this coming out of film Festivals was very positive.
I mean the premise is interesting enough: A father goes on a search for his missing daughter and the film is portrayed from the perspective of computer screens and smartphones.
The father ‘David’ (played by John. Cho) is a widowed husband and father to his high school daughter “Margot’ (played by Michelle La and various other actors).
The beginning of the film is played out extremely well using nothing but actions taken on a desktop of a computer. Videos and pictures are opened in sequences which tell a heartfelt story which start from Margot being born and continues into the different stages of her life. The calendar app is opened and dates are entered to highlight important dates and periods in her lifetime. All of which are cemented by the love of her parents. Soon we learn that her mother Pam (played by Sara Sohn) is sick with cancer. After fighting it as a family, she is able to go through remission. But unfortunately, the cancer returns and takes her life.
The plot continues on to the sudden disappearance of Margot after a night of study group with friends.
This is where the excitement really begins…!
This film explores the relationship between a Father and his only Daughter. As well as what it can be like with dealing with a death in the family. With this film, we really got a taste of this. It’s as if the disappearance of his daughter was meant to be a journey of self discovery for David, so that he could realise things he never did about his daughter. The main issues being; not knowing her as well as he 1st thought and not dealing with the death of his wife with his daughter.
Off the top of my head, there was a line which stood out to me regarding knowing her friends. When his brother Peter texted to him “If you don’t know her friends…who would?” (I’m paraphrasing btw). David also did not want to mention Pam and took every opportunity to avoid doing so. He wanted to text “Mom would be proud as well”. But deletes it.
These moments really were some of the best in the film and only heightened the emotional connection with these characters.
The judgemental landscape of social media was also prevalent throughout the film. It goes from being a useful tool to spread awareness of the missing persons case, to being the court of public opinion where people’s uneducated theories were being shared. One scene which really pissed me off, was the one of the high school student who posted a video crying about Margots disappearance. Earlier in the movie she had basically said she was ‘friends’ with Margot simply because she needed to past the class. Now all of a sudden, she’s in tears online and crying for likes and retweets. The things people will try and exploit for attention. KMT.
Lets talk about when we all though the worst about Peter! Oh my days. The misdirection was too much.
With this portion of the film, it highlights how messages can be taken out of context. Be honest, we thought that Peter was doing the ‘unthinkable’. Thats legit how it looked. Those text messages were tooooo convincing. When David set up this cameras in his house, I thought “We’re gonna see that Margot has been with Peter the whole time and he’s been doing David dirty. Real dirty”. But I’m so glad they didn’t go down that road, because that would’ve been mad!
This was also another learning moment for David as he realises those piano lessons were not necessarily the best thing for his daughter. Continuing those lessons along with not dealing with the passing of Pam were not doing her any favours. But he had not been able to see this until the conflict between his brother.
Everything and Everyone has a Purpose.
Nothing is done without reason. This is so true and something to remember. With this being said, I’ve got 2 points to bring up; ‘The Son’ and ‘The Webpage’.
#MajorSpoilers – at the end of the move we find out that ‘Richard’, the son of the lead investigator, was the perpetrator. But this wasn’t something that came out of the blue. This was hinted at a few times during the film. There was the story that Vick gave David about the $25 dollar scheme Richard pulled. There were moments when David and Vick were face-timing and Richard showed up in the background. This was all foreshadowing to a reveal that I honestly cant say I saw coming.
Please correct me if I’m wrong because I may have to catch the film again to be sure…
But towards the start of the movie, when David was online he had article open. This article was about a man who was stranded in the mountains but managed to survive. I swear down! I clocked this from early, but why? Because everything has a purpose. If what I think I saw is true, then this article was shown on screen to let us know that Pam would’ve survived her fall.
I bring up these points to appreciate the nuances in the storytelling and the devices that can be used to heighten reveals in movies like this. Sick.
Nothing is what it seems
Bare misdirection. Faaam the misdirection in this film is so real!
When David was getting close to figuring out who was responsible for his missing daughter, they just kept throwing curve balls at us.
At first we thought it was Peter. Thankfully it wasn’t.
Then we thought it was the convict that submitted that confession, I knew that was BS immediately. The report included something about ‘luggage’ and that told me straight away that this wasn’t legit.
WHEN WE SAW THE PICTURE OF THE LADY ON THE ‘THANK YOU’ PAGE OF THE MEMORIAL SITE I NEARLY LOST IT!
Do you know how mad that was??? But then David clocked that it wasn’t her! How?? Because when he contacted her himself, she said she never spoke to Vick who claimed that they did.
And then when he spoke to the woman on the phone and he heard her say that Vick had ‘volunteered’ herself on this case – I nearly dropped my popcorn. But how the f*ck could she have done it? And why? What was her motivation? He googled her, opened up bare tabs and saw the picture off her with ex convicts. At this point, the excitement levels were at its peak! I had my suspicions when we saw this page earlier in the movie! David then realised that she was stood with the same guy on the confession tape? Yooooooo! Madting.
Im sorry but the film is tooo sick.
A Protective Mother
Damn Vick. Thats tough.
At the point where we thought she was the primary cause for Margots disappearance, she seemed like a criminal mastermind. Which, given her job isn’t too far fetched.
Alas, she was just a mother doing what she could to protect her son.
I think a good conversation could be had on whether or not what she did was right or wrong?
Robert made a mistake but when was a crime committed? Because he didn’t kill Margot, did he? He thought he did and Vick wanted to avoid Robert having to repay the consequences of his behaviour as he seems to be misunderstood.
What would have been the right thing to do? What would another Mother in her shoes do?
Innovative Story Telling
And as such things go in Hollywood, be prepared for at least 2/3 films by the year 2020 to use this perspective. Just the way things go in this industry.
This ‘Desktop Perspective’ is such a col feature to utilise in filmmaking. I think it’s because, if used correctly, they way it can be used can be so relatable. Everyone has those moments, were we type something… then choose to delete it all. When we struggle to decide if we want to post something for not. When we forgot our password sand have to reset them.
The films mentioned before indeed have adopted the ‘Desktop Perspective’ but I would be lying if I said they used it to this level of execution.
‘Searching’ is on my top 5 films this year in terms of concept and plot without a doubt. ‘A Quiet Place’ is also on that list. Another one worth watching if you have not already.
I think this is a film that my g Grissom from CSI would’ve been impressed by.
I can happily give this an 8/10.
Feel differently? Hit me up.
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