Searching is a 2018 mystery-thriller from filmmaker Aneesh Chaganty on his directorial debut. It takes on the story of a mysterious kidnapping of the teenage daughter of David Kim and his quest to find her, completely set and shot on the screen of his laptop and phone. It stars John Cho as David Kim, Michelle Lee as Margot Kim and Debra Messing as Rosemary Vik, the detective in-charge of the investigation.
According to the production team and the actors, basing all the characters and scenes through another secondary screen was a nightmare to go through with, but the movie turned out to be a critical and financial success, with acclaim for the Indian-origin Chaganty for his phenomenal direction.
The plot of the story revolves around David Kim, a single father whose wife had passed away a couple of years ago, and his daughter, Margot Kim, 16 years old. They are both in a turmoil filled relationship, a gap left behind after the passing of her mother. Passionate about her piano skills, Margot goes to classes every day. When one day doesn’t reach home early, David worries and check up with her piano teacher.
When enquired about, David finds out that she had quit her classes 6 months ago, but had still taken money to pay for the classes every month. David files a missing complaint, and Detective Vik is assigned the case. There are many revelations to David, that Margot had gotten a fake ID and traffic footage shows her speeding off to some place, that she had been chatting to a certain online person because of the loneliness and depression following her mother’s death.
All these take David a dwindling path to self-doubt as a father, failures as a caretaker, and eventually some shocking truths about his daughter. The finale to the movie is quite twisted, saddening and overall mind-blowing.
What stands out
Searching is a beautiful culmination of what a mystery movie should be. It follows a guessing game, as it’s not just the characters that are ‘searching’ but the audience as well. Using the lens of desktops and smartphones, it is clarified that there is nothing happening off the screen. The storyline is pretty linear, straightforward and clear in its approach.
The broad themes are that of how off-handed we are even in a digital world, that the level of human manipulation will know no limits but that of human will. Searching is an ode to those who are lost as well, searching for themselves and their identities on social media and finding solace in the internet’s mystery.
Why watch Searching?
The movie is a beautifully portrayed path to self-reflection and realization, one that makes us think and scratch our heads every instance. It is also to show how Hollywood is improving in its representation aspect, with more Asian-origin talent getting center stage. The acting requires no introduction, and Cho executes David’s character with grace and realistic portrayal. The movie itself will leave you in tears, and is not for the light souls. If Searching does not push you to give some appreciation and a hug to your family, then it has failed in its purpose. For those light-hearted individuals, we have action-comedy movies with the Cornetto Trilogy. The review on Modern Love in the romantic drama avenue is also available.