Searching follows David Kim (John Cho) as he struggles to maintain a relationship with his 16-year-old daughter Margot (Michelle La) after his wife’s death. After Margot fails to come home from a study group, he initiates a search for his daughter’s whereabouts with the help of Detective Rosemary Vick (Debra Messing).
What’s notable about this film is that it takes place from the perspective of multiple computer screens. Although Searching was produced by the same production company that made the Unfriended movies, I felt that the former had a better execution. This was evident in the first ten minutes of the movie as it shows the happy home life of the Kim family before the death of the mother.
Another great thing about this movie is its writing. The movie presents itself as a mystery from the point of view of Margot’s father as he tries to unravel the whereabouts of his daughter by tracing her Internet history right up to her disappearance. There are some interesting twists and turns throughout the duration of the movie.
While the Unfriended movies were cautionary tales disguised as horror movies, I felt that Searching is an interesting social commentary. During one scene of the movie, for example, a lot of Margot’s classmates were pretending to be her friend in order to get attention from the news outlets even though they barely talked to her in real life. I haven’t seen a movie make that kind of statement since 2009’s World’s Greatest Dad (and Gone Girl to a certain extent).
As for the cast, John Cho pretty much carries this movie. While he is better known as Harold from the Harold and Kumar movies, I felt this movie showed his real talents as an actor. However, Debra Messing manages to have the best performance of the entire movie.
My main problem with this movie is its uneven pacing at certain points of the movie. I felt this element dragged the movie down. I may be nitpicking here, but I had a problem with its third act. I won’t spoil the movie, but it has to do with the whereabouts of Margot Kim. I know I am supposed to suspend to my disbelief while watching a fictional narrative. For a movie that is supposed to be grounded in reality, however, this was slightly disappointing.
Overall, Searching is a film that manages to live up to its concept. If only we could do the same to Hardcore Henry.