Searching – 3.5/5 – Movie Reviews by Ry!

Searching – 3.5/5 – Gimmicks, they can make or break any form of art.  No matter the medium, using a specific device to exude artistry can grab varied attention.  No matter how you get your audience, if that device is used with a creative touch, it will provide a fun experience.  Searching uses a mixture of techniques and genres with mild success.  Even with some heavy foreshadowing and obvious motifs, Searching is a thriller that puts a familiar ride through a new lens.

Premise: When his daughter goes missing, David Kim searches online to find the her before it’s too late.

In the lead role of David Kim is John Cho.  Being the father of the missing teen, he provides superb acting within the found footage concept.  Being the lead character of this genre, you witness everything through a certain confine.  Here, you watch Cho as he evolves through the situation by facial expression and powerful guise of ‘lack thereof’ interactions.  With little dialogue, Cho captures the turmoil and tension, driving home the raw aspect of human desperation.  Cho pushes forward a believability of emotional worth using social media.  Seeing a ‘close up’ of his life gives that delicacy of the moment; showing how anyone will react with a realistic perspective.  The rest of the cast are common archetypes found in any thriller type of story.  What you have is people to flesh out the story, but not amount to any significance of character dynamic.

The direction tells a story through a generic thriller concept.  The ‘missing person’ case has been used many times before, but the blending of ‘found footage’ spins the familiarity through a unique lens.  This technique allows for application of ‘real life’ occurrences.  In this case, we are watching everything through camera phones and laptop web cams.  These niche items push those thrilling elements into a realistic pattern.  This allows for the tropes to feel applicable to the audience.  At the beginning, we are introduced to David Kim and his daughter.  After the introduction, the film quickly shifts to the teenager disappearing.  Once evidence of this becomes real, the story moves at a methodical pace.  The audience watches as Kim slowly lifts each little piece, finding that lies and truths have strong connections to the past.  With social media, it reveals things that bring about the theme of ‘more behind the mask’.  This brings about distraught and expressive fervor that parallels a genuine perspective, providing emotional worth to the dire situation.  On the surface, the story is only lifted because of the gimmick.  With the use of social media, video chatting and online blogging to tell the story, it shows a sign of relativity.  That realism allows for the common clichés, plot holes and forthcoming twist to be leveled by that application of ‘in the moment’.  Everything feels plausible, creating stronger tension and staggering hope.  Once we move into the latter half, it delves deep into heighten moments.  These moments become subtle foreshadowing scenarios for the reason everything has happened.  Once in the climax, it’s a mix of a lot of convenient and obvious detail, but the humanistic value provides worth.  Once in the epilogue, you realize that the story wouldn’t have been great without the creative use of social media.

The cinematography is basic, not really going beyond web cams and camera phones.  There is no score to talk about.

Searching is a film that takes a concept and pushes the thrills to another level.  Even when everything is station to cameras on phones and laptop, the realism helps grip you to the tension till the end.  If you like thrillers or want to experience something slightly different, this is for you.  Go check it out at the theaters.

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