This week I’m trying to go back and check out a bunch of the best movies I missed from last year. I have a list that is quite honestly, longer than the list of new movies I saw in theatres in 2018. I’ll slowly get through them all and hopefully have something to say about each of them.
Last night I watched Searching, written and directed by Aneesh Chaganty and starring John Cho.
The premise of Searching is fairly simple; single father, David Kim, is trying to find his teenage daughter, Margot played by Michelle La, after she doesn’t come home from a study session.
It’s a typical plot and follows a lot of twists, turns and plot machinations as many other movies. That doesn’t make it uninteresting though and I still found the movie engaging and very entertaining. The performances from the main cast, rounded out by Debra Messing as the lead detective on the case and Joseph Lee and David’s brother, are all very honest and believable. David Kim becomes more unhinged as time goes on and the search for his missing daughter is not garnering any tangible results.
The hook of Searching though is that everything we see is on screen. You may be saying, “Well no shit James, it’s a movie of course it’s on screen.”
What I mean is we spend the entire run time of the movie looking at various screens and monitors. That means every time we see and a character it is through a video chat, news report, cctv footage, phone or webcam. David’s search for his daughter is mostly conducted online, hunting through social media platforms and email and various desktop folders for clues as to what has happened.
It may sound jarring, and at first I did find myself waiting for it to cut away and back to a more traditional form of cinematography, but before long I was engaged in the story and didn’t particularly notice it.
The movie is set in San Jose and while I didn’t pick up on exactly what David’s profession is, there’s a good chance he works in tech as it is Silicon Valley and he is savvy and proficient with all sorts of computers.
This is not a movie that could have been made twenty, ten, hell, even five years ago and may age very poorly depending on how quickly things keep advancing, but it felt extremely accurate for how a missing persons case my go in 2018/19.
The style is not completely original, it has been done in a few horror movies, but from what o can gather this seems to be the most ambitious project to use the so called ‘Screen Life’ format.
It won’t work for everyone, I can imagine my brother for instance becoming infuriated with it after a while, but it worked for me in this instance.
Searching is available to buy and rent now and I encourage people to check out the trailer and see if it seems like something they would be interested in before diving in.
If there are any movies you think may have slipped under my radar and would like to see my thoughts on, shoot me a message and I’ll add them to my list.
I’ll be back tomorrow with, something.
See you then.