Perhaps you’ve never heard of this film. It is a new release which I feel has gone somewhat under the cinema radar with a concise and limited release within Australia. Thankfully I had the honour of witnessing the directorial debut of Aneesh Chaganty in cinemas before it ran away from the big screens. Searching is, in fact, a thriller.
After a father’s 16-year-old daughter appears to have gone missing, the father decides to take a look at her laptop. As he browses through her computer, he soon discovers a world of mysteries and clues that will allow him to find out what has happened to her hopefully.
By the way, I forgot the mention… the film is done entirely with the cinema patrons-only seeing “computers screens” which show different elements, different cameras, Skype calls and the list goes on. Yes, you heard right… the entire film and its story is displayed like this.
While the film is set around computer functions (like current operating systems and older ones), we also see popular programs and apps such as Facebook and Instagram which many viewers will relate to (young and old). I was rather impressed with just how much was I able to truly connect with this film, primarily as we have used all (or most of) what we see in this film. It’s clear to me that the director has invested money towards brand licensing to give the movie a truly realistic look given the situation. And you know what? It flipping works!
A film that is told from the point of a computer screens does sound boring when you read about it on paper. But in the cinema, I was shocked and thoroughly impressed by this feature. At no point did the film drag, feel dull or feel uninteresting. Once the situation of the daughter being missing appears, I was highly invested and cheering the father on, happy to join him in trying to discover more about his daughter’s odd disappearance. The view of the computer screen only makes you feel like you too are looking for clues, plus it only increases the level of both hype and suspense. The pace was also perfect as I was able to keep up, read all the text on screen and see everything. At no point did I feel like I missed out on any detail.
The next day after watching the film, I found myself continuing to think about it. And some aspects in this film may seem a little too much to accept, but at the moment, I found myself believing it because it all looked and felt realistic. I will also admit that the character/actor was a little weak, and at times didn’t feel believable in the character they played (honestly, it’s minor negative for me).
Overall, Searching delivers one of the most creative and suspenseful thrillers I saw in 2018. Its story alone is unique, suspenseful and innovative. The way the director chooses to tells the story is risky, but oh boy, it works a treat here.
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Review Written by Peter Walkden