An interesting take on a well-worn plot, Searching shows David (John Cho) desperately trying to track down his daughter Margot (Michelle La) after she suddenly goes missing, but with every piece of action shown through computer screens. We see old home videos, FaceTime calls and photos as he trawls through everything in search of even the smallest clue to her whereabouts.
While the style is, for the most part, effective during crucial moments, it does at times make things seem rather two-dimensional and borders on gimmicky. There are some key emotional plot points covered at the start, and while there isn’t anything wrong with the acting or the script, some things just fall a little flat. It becomes difficult to really connect to the characters when they’re only seen through videos and FaceTime calls for the majority of the time.
Luckily, with Cho at the helm he provides a solid grounding, without which the film would, unfortunately, be pretty forgettable. With Columbus also finally hitting UK cinemas in a couple of months’ time, Cho once again proves himself to be a strong leading actor. Debra Messing appears in a welcome supporting role as Detective Vick, and although more than capable of holding her own, the character just feels a little flat and lifeless in comparison to Cho’s David.
There are some fantastic twists along the way and, for the most part, the story bounds along at an enjoyable rate. While the fact that we see all of the action unfold through characters’ computer screens is an interesting angle, it does occasionally feel a little like watching a TV movie.
Searching is definitely worth seeing for Cho’s performance alone, and while director Aneesh Chaganty handles the twists and turns with perfect ease, there’s not really anything that sticks firmly in the mind after leaving the cinema.
CAST: John Cho, Debra Messing, Joseph Lee, Michelle La
DIRECTOR: Aneesh Chaganty
WRITERS: Aneesh Chaganty, Sev Ohanian
SYNOPSIS: After his 16-year-old daughter goes missing, a desperate father breaks into her laptop to look for clues to find her.