‘Searching’ for a good movie?

Rachel Ye, Staff Writer

Aneesh Chaganty’s Searching, released August 2018, explores the dark side of the beloved Internet we all know and love. Spearheaded by actors John Cho, Debra Messing, and Michelle La, the psychological thriller perfectly captures the teenage spirit, yet also gruesomely portrays the most extreme case of technology addicted gone wrong.

Searching follows the story of David Kim (Cho), a typical suburban father raising his teenager daughter, Margot Kim (La), after the passing of his wife and Margot’s mother. Suddenly, the disappearance of his daughter destroys the fragile peace he had created for himself and Margot in the wake of her mother’s death. Distraught and in anguish, David employs the services of Detective Rosemary Vick (Messing). In efforts to aid the investigation, he decides to scour her computer and social media for any clues. The resulting discoveries reveal a life Margot had been hiding beneath the screen for ages, shocking both viewers and her father.

Putting a modern twist on 2014’s Unfriended, the 2018 film pulls viewers on a whirlwind of emotions. With a simple, straightforward plot, in contrast with many movies of its genre, Searching creates an understandable, yet powerful, way of presenting an intriguing storyline. An Asian-centered cast, perhaps inspired by the recently released box office hit, Crazy Rich Asians, introduces a fresh perspective not previously explored in Hollywood. Viewers are immediately thrown into the mystery, and are kept on the edge of their seats until the end of the missing child story. The unique presentation method of the movie concretely centers around the heavy dependence on social media. The majority, filmed through mediums like a laptop camera, or seen through the display of a computer screen, wholly immerses viewers in the life of Margot Kim, as well as reveals the distress of her father as he frantically rifles through her social media accounts. The incorporation of typical electronics aspects, such as the appearance of notifications or an instance where David loses his mind over forgetting a password, forces people to notice how truly entwined our lives are with social media. With an unexpected plot twist at the end, Searching also illustrates the damage social media can inflict on our natural, human relationships.

A movie more applicable to today’s society, Searching provides an overdue look into the reality of social media, and presents it through a distinct medium. Despite a rocky start in the box office and a saturation of up and coming actors, the thriller has slowly gained fame, reaching a wide audience as well as theaters nationwide.