SEARCHING is a smart thriller, told with ingenuity and newness the likes I've never seen before (two other films used this computer screen storytelling technique, but failed where SEARCHING succeeded) . SEARCHING ushers film noir into the modern age with great deftness and acuity.
We've seen many films where a father is searching for his missing daughter (there is a place for Liam Neeson's over the top films like Taken, but they're eye candy whose purpose is entertainment as a respite from the grind of daily life.)
SEARCHING, on the other hand, requires viewer participation, which all great filmmakers understand. For the ending to be plausible, you must think back and remember certain characters' actions and statements. NOTHING is shown in this story that is not used. That was one of Hitchcock's rules and director Aneesh Chaganty understands this rule and stuck to it,
helping his rather quickly unfolding ending make sense.
SEARCHING doesn't rely on gimmicks or tropes; it doesn't use red herrings or deus ex machina to move the plot along, but uses the computer screen delivery to great effect.
This intricate jigsaw-puzzle-like plot is offered to the viewer in a jigsaw-puzzle-like fashion, with the open computer tabs representing each puzzle piece . Sheer brilliance! (To pull that off with such an intricate plot is mind blowing.)
Brilliant direction. Flawless story. Kudos to John Cho for a magnificent performance.
Highly recommended for lovers of suspense, thrillers, mystery, and movies that push the creative envelope and provide entertainment without numbing your brain or asking you to suspend your disbelief forever. We're given information at the same time as the father looking at the computer screen, and the events that occur are so plausible, our suspension of disbelief never comes into play. It's like watching a documentary. No, it's like having access to this father's computer and all the info on it and all the info that passes through it, during the worst week of his life.
I'm looking forward to watching this again in a few days.