“Searching” Defies Expectations

Despite gimmiks, plot shines through

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“Searching” Defies Expectations

Nathan Fletcher, Graphics Editor

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A warning for everyone thinking about seeing this film: the entire movie is shown through the screen of a desktop computer. I was made aware of this shortly before viewing, but if I hadn’t been told I would not have understood what was going on. Even with this knowledge, it took awhile to get used it. It felt incredibly gimmicky for the first part of the film, but after awhile I adjusted and was able to ignore the unconventional filming style.

 

I was rather disconnected from the film for the first half hour or so. It was difficult to connect to a face you barely got to see, so when Margot was abducted I wasn’t exactly emotional. However, as the movie progresses, we see more and more video cams of her father. David (Margot’s father) is on a quest to find his daughter, and he spends most of the film aiding the police in any way he can. We see his google searches, his messages, his emails and his newsfeed, all of it centered around Margot. However, the real meat of the movie is in videochat form.

 

John Cho’s acting is what separates “Searching” from a low-budget YouTube short film. Anyone can hit “screen record” and make roughly the same film, but without Cho the gravity of Margot’s disappearance would fall flat. Every emotional moment, and even most major plot points, are delivered to the audience through conversations between him and other characters over FaceTime. Cho humanizes David.

 

The delivery can be distracting, but the plot is captivating. Each new revelation is enthralling, every twist, jarring. The story of Margot Kim is a modern take on the classic mystery thriller. Even when it seems that the writers are copping out, a new detail is added that sprinkles a hint of discontinuity into the current theory of Margot’s disappearance. The audience is prompted to unravel the threads of the mystery with David. Finally, as all the pieces start coming together and the culprit is revealed, the story makes sense. Unlike many mysteries, there are no loose ends: everything is accounted for — the mark of a masterful writing staff.

 

Overall, this movie is definitely worth seeing. If you take a moment to adjust to the odd form of cinematography, the story will undeniably move you.

Nathan Fletcher

Nathan became a member of The Flightline in August of 2017. He is a senior this year, involved in cross country, track, and drama, and can be found watching movies outside of school. You can email him at [email protected]