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Searching: What Would Your Search History Say About You?

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  • Debra MessingJohn Cho...
  • DramaMystery & Suspense...
  • Aneesh Chaganty
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Cairo 360
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Searching: What Would Your Search History Say About You?

Since most of us spend a decent amount of time looking into the screens of our devices and looking up our favourite sites and apps, what would happen if a stranger were to pick up your phone? What would they find out? What if it’s your parent? Searching has the answers.

Searching follows David Kim (John Cho) who is looking for his teenage daughter Margot (Michelle La), after she did not come home one night and did not attend school the following day. To help Detective Rosemary Vick (Debra Messing), who volunteered to handle the case, Kim has to search Margot’s laptop and her social media to find any clues. But what he discovers is that he does not know his daughter as well as he thinks he does, if at all.

What makes this movie special is not necessarily the plot, which we have seen before several times; a parent looking for his daughter whose fate we don’t know.

What does make this film special is its complete reliance on screens to show the progression of events. All the shots in the film are shots of screens, whether phones, laptops, or TVs, which surprisingly not only works, but even adds so much uniqueness to the film. The fact that we are heavily reliant on screens in our daily lives, and the fact that the film parallels this, gives the film an authenticity that sets it apart from others.

The movie is also very clever at using this technique; for example, it uses emotional and authentic looking home videos to set the background; it shows the passing of time through an antivirus notification; and it shows a calendar with Margot deleting an event on it to signify her mother’s death. Who knew a calendar can leave you in tears? The same technique was recently first used in the horror feature Unfriended, which evoked massive positive reviews due to its use.

This technique also allows for Kim to explore his daughter’s internet life and discover so much, which is a very interesting concept and has audiences wondering: “What would people find if they explored my internet life?”

However, this technique also has its limitations; having several cameras placed at different angles provides shots with detail, and can capture emotion much better than one camera focused on a computer or phone screens can.

As for the acting, John Cho was able to evoke so much emotion out of the audience with his role as a worried and devastated father. Even though the “all screens technique” could hinder some actors, Cho was able to deliver an excellent and memorable performance. Debra Messing was convincing as the sympathising detective, but as her character took a new turn, her performance was flat and implausible.

Searching is definitely worth a watch. But, if you are a father maybe you should skip this one because it will give you nightmares for a very long time.

Like This? Try

Unfriended (2014), Unfriended: Dark Web (2018), Friend Request (2016). 

360 Tip

The film took just 13 days to shoot. However, it took two years to make due to the prep, editing and animating.

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